SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (KPIX 5) — The search continues for a dog that ran away from his handler at the San Francisco International Airport earlier this week. Meanwhile, the airline is dealing with a public relations crisis over an email sent by a company official.
Larry, an Italian greyhound, was on his way to a new home in Canada after his owner in California died. His flight to British Columbia on Monday was delayed. An Air Canada employee took the dog out of his kennel for a potty break when the dog escaped.
Kathy Willman, with her two Italian greyhounds, has been looking for Larry for the past four days. Despite a few supposed sightings, she is about to give up hope.
“I think he just ran down the street and got hit by a car,” Willman told KPIX 5.
Larry was last seen at the Air Canada cargo area, a few blocks from the terminals. Crews said the dog took off toward the employee parking lot and Highway 101.
“We received one call, by the time we arrived the dog was gone. It’s a really scary situation,” said Scott Delucchi of the Peninsula Humane Society.
Making things worse was Air Canada’s response by Peter Fitzpatrick, the airline’s head of corporate communications. In an email accidentally sent to the CBS station in Sacramento, Fitzpatrick said, “I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog. Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the U.S. media spends its time…”
Duncan White, the man who would give Larry a new home, was stunned by the email.
“I was totally shocked and very, very upset,” White said. “You look at their website and they say they take great care in shipping animals and obviously it’s not true.”
Air Canada has apologized about the incident and insists they are still looking for Larry. The airline has not said why the dog was in an open area, despite warnings from the dog’s handler.
Responding to the controversy over his comments, Fitzpatrick told the Toronto Star newspaper, “I guess I’m the poster child now for Be Careful With Your Email.” Fitzpatrick did not respond to KPIX 5’s request for comment on Friday.
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