A supermodel has gone on the offensive against United Airlines, claiming that they killed her beloved golden retriever during a cross-country trip, and then lied about investigating the death. Maggie Rizer, who has modeled for Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Calvin Klein and been on the cover of Elle, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, wrote a heartbreaking blog post this week detailing the whole experience: "Aside from being completely emotionally distraught over the loss of our little Bea, I am so saddened by the complete lack of competence, honesty and compassion that United has shown."
Rizer was flying from NYC to San Francisco two weeks ago with her two dogs, including two-year-old golden retriever Bea, who were crated in the underbelly of the plane. She explains:
Beatrice had a perfect health record. She received a full examination and a health certificate four days before the flight, as is required by the Pet Safe program. This program is United’s branded on-board pet safety program. In addition to Pet Safe’s stringent requirements, we took every extra precaution we could think of. Both the dog’s kennels were labeled front to back with emergency numbers, flight information and warnings. Their kennels were purchased specifically for the measurements and design specified by Pet Safe. We purchased special water bowls which we filled with ice to ensure that the water wouldn’t spill and that it would last longer. We drove the six hours to New York City from our house in Northern New York State, so the dogs wouldn’t have to make a connecting flight. We paid United Airlines $1800.00, in addition to our plane tickets, to ensure the safety of our pets.
But when they landed, an "emotionless worker who seemed more interested in his text messages" told her Bea was dead. When she asked to see the dog, she was told Bea had been delivered to a local vet for an autopsy. But she soon realized it was a lie: "Over the next two hours the supervisor’s lie unraveled as it became clear that Bea was right behind a closed door the whole time and he had been discussing how to handle the potential liability with his boss who had left and sticking to the divert and stall tactic that they had been taught."
“I was completely hysterical, I’m surprised I didn’t get arrested,” Rizer told the Daily News. “They are living, breathing creatures and to treat them like bags clearly isn't working." Although she says she isn't planning on filing a lawsuit, "I am writing this to help make people aware that airlines are incapable of ensuring the safety of our pets. All it takes is for one employee to not follow the proper procedure and then like me, your dog is dead."