MIAMI (CN) - American Airlines injured a police-trained K9 dog and refuses to reimburse the owner for shipment costs, the owner says in Miami-Dade County Court.
Agustin F. Artiles and his company, K9 International, say they keep "numerous K9 dogs trained for police patrol, narcotics detection and bomb detection for contract with various organizations and agencies both in and outside the state of Florida."
In April 2010, Artiles arranged to fly three K9 dogs on American Airlines, all in his own airline-approved crates, from Miami International Airport to the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda for a contract with the islands' Royal Police Force.
"Artiles noticed that the dogs were placed two on the bottom and one on top," according to the complaint. "Artiles became concerned about the safety of the K9s since the manufacturer does not recommend stacking the crates due to their rounded structure."
While awaiting his flight after going through security, Artiles learned that one of the crates had fallen off the dolly, popped open and released one of dogs, K9-Elvis, according to the complaint.
Artiles says it was a security breach to escort him back to security, and that the Transportation Security Administration documented the incident.
After waiting three hours for personnel to put K9-Elvis back in his crate, American Airlines then refused to allow the dog to fly, according to the complaint. Artiles says his son picked the dog up and brought him to a veterinarian, who diagnosed the dog with a head contusion.
After finally getting K9-Elvis to the islands on Amerijet since American Airlines refused to ship it, Artiles says he observed the dog was "biting in an untrained fashion" and took it to another vet,.
"Generally, in pre-training K9 dogs are trained to bite and track suspects in a certain humane way," Artiles says. "The head injury, caused by the fall, negatively affected both the biting and tracking of K9-Elvis that the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda could no longer use K9-Elvis for its patrolling purposes."
Artiles says he lost the contracts for all three dogs, as a result of K9-Elvis' behavior.
American Airlines meanwhile has refused to refund the cost of the plane ticket that K9-Elvis was never allowed to use, according to the complaint.
Artiles and K9 International are suing the airline for negligence, trespass to chattels, and breach of bailment and contract. They are seeking over $71,000 for the loss of K9-Elvis and all the lost contracts with the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, as well as reimbursement for K9-Elvis' transportation and vet bills.
They are represented by Hector Rivera of West Palm Beach.
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