Latest News 2010 July The Worth of Man’s Best Friend

The Worth of Man’s Best Friend

As reported by the Washington Post and Fayetteville Observer, North Carolina pet owners, Army Lt. John Weisner and Ronia Weisner, are seeking damages from United Airlines for the loss of their pet on July 10, 2008. The Weisners allege that airline personal either stole the pet or allowed the pet to escape. The lawsuit is filed in U.S. District Court for the eastern District of North Carolina.

Lt. Weisner was due to fly from Washington Dulles International Airport into Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when the carrier used so far to transport their 4 year-old purebred Canaan Arabian Desert dog, named Jeddah, was deemed inadequate for travel by United Airlines personnel.

The Weisners were forced to purchase a new kennel on the spot from United Airlines for $105 along with an additional $250 for Jeddah's shipping. The Weisners, concerned about a new kennel, asked the airline personnel to make sure that the closure was securely fastened. 

Lt. Weisner was on his way to a year-long assignment in Saudi Arabia while his wife was to remain. Fifteen minutes before he was to board the plane he was told that Jeddah was missing.

The airline employees allegedly refused to assist the Weisners in searching for and locating Jeddah in a timely manner. When no cameras recorded the pet's escape, or any damage to the kennel that would show signs of an apparent escape, the Weisners contended that United Airlines employees either knowingly allowed the dog to escape, or were duplicitous in allowing an employee, or employees, to steal him.

They haven't left the Washington area since Jeddah's disappearance.  Lt. Weisner, always feeding the 55-pound dog people food, is concerned about the dog using instincts to eat anything else. The Weisners remain hotel bound.

Volunteers, instead of airline personnel, are now hearing about Jeddah from the couple's new "Help Find Jeddah" website.  Hundreds of fliers have been posted in and around the airport, nearly 12,000 acres, advertising the couple's own $2,500 reward that the airline has agreed to match.

Two different witnesses thought they saw the dog in the Reston area. A search has turned up no trail of him there now though. Tales of seeing Jeddah in a storm or racing through a yard are no comfort to the Weisners. Jeddah is known to be skittish with the speed of a Greyhound.  He may be seen many times before caught, if caught at all.

When Delta Airlines lost a dog in June of this year, they offered a $200 airline voucher, then a little more money, but never offered to locate the dog. About the same amount offered for lost baggage. The dog, "Paco", had also escaped from his carrier. Paco's Facebook page now garners more attention than the spokesperson for Delta Airlines and their promised investigation.

In the two years since Jeddah's loss, there have been no leads to recovery. Due to emotional and mental anguish suffered, the Weisners are asking a jury to determine damages.