Ukraine International Employee Suspended Over Puppy Deaths

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) said today that it is opening an investigation and suspending an employee due to the deaths of 38 French bulldog puppies. The incident took place on a flight to Toronto, Canada, on June 13th. As many as 550 dogs were being transported on the flight from Kyiv, Ukraine.

UIA 767
The incident occurred on a UIA Boeing 767 flight to Toronto from Kyiv. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons 

Head of freight transportation suspended

According to Pakistani media outlet Urdu Point, an inquiry is underway, and an employee is being suspended for the time being. This is what UIA had to say in a statement:

“UIA has opened its own internal enquiry during which the head of freight transportation will remain suspended… Unfortunately the animals’ cause of death remains to be established.”

So far, UIA has ruled out any problem to do with a lack of air in the cargo hold. The airline also says that for the time being, it has also suspended the transportation of all animals on its Boeing 767-300s, of which it has two.

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Ukraine International Employee Suspended Over Puppy Deaths
UIA has two Boeing 767-300s based out of its hub at Boryspil International airport near Kyiv, Ukraine.
Photo: Getty Images

Investigation on the Canadian side as well

The Canadian government has also opened an investigation. More specifically, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is looking into the incident. The CFIA is the government ministry/agency responsible for overseeing the international trade of plants and animals.

Simple Flying had reached out to the CFIA for comment and received the following response:

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is aware that on June 13, 2020, shipments of approximately 500 puppies landed at Pearson International Airport, Toronto. Upon arrival, many of the dogs were suffering from dehydration, weakness and/or vomiting. When inspected, it was found that 38 were dead on arrival and the flight was from Ukraine.

“CFIA officials are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident and will determine next steps once the investigation is complete.

“The CFIA is responsible for regulating the importation of animals, including dogs, into Canada in order to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases that could negatively impact the health of both animals and humans.”

The CFIA goes on to say that import conditions are developed by taking into account the diseases and conditions affecting animals, the current national disease health status, the risk to human health, and Canada’s obligations as members of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

UIA’s fleet mainly consists of short-haul aircraft like the 737 and Embraer E190 and E195. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr.

Incident background

Sources indicate there were around 500 of the puppies on the flight with a total of 550 dogs and 89 cats. The dead puppies were French bulldogs. The puppies that survived were said to be suffering from dehydration, weakness, and vomiting.

What kind of penalty should those responsible face? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.