March 31 UPDATE: The pet carrier won’t reimburse the family for not putting Joey on a plane. So, John MacEnulty and Joey are heading to Amsterdam to stay with some friends while they figure out finances.
A GoFundMe was created to help raise the money they need to get home. It's raised more than $2500 in just three days.
March 29 UPDATE: John MacEnulty flew to Frankfurt, Germany to get Joey after the pet carrier wouldn’t put him on a plane.
ST. LOUIS – A man moving back to St. Louis following his mother’s death is dealing with trying to get his family’s dog back after it was left in Germany.
John MacEnulty IV reached out to 5 On Your Side on March 23 and said a company working with Lufthansa Airlines took his dog off a flight.
MacEnulty paid 1500 euros for his family’s dog and cat to fly back from Germany to St. Louis for his mother’s memorial service. The cat made it, but their beloved dog Joey did not.
The family says a veterinarian cleared the dog to fly, and about 45 minutes later he was unable to fly.
MacEnulty says Joey had a scratch on his nose and the vet believed that was enough of a ‘danger’ for the dog to not travel.
“No one really wanted to take responsibility, until today when Lufthansa finally stepped up and said, ‘we’ll take care of this,’ MacEnulty said.
MacEnulty says he’s grateful for Lufthansa stepping up, but he doesn’t think it was their fault. He says he booked the whole flight through United Airlines.
“I think it was United’s responsibility, I booked [the flight] with United.” I booked the PetSafe with United, I used the company with United told me that handles all its pet bookings.
5 On Your Side spoke to United Airlines which said customers work with an animal shipment brokerage company, which helps coordinate pet travel. Thy also said Germany has strict import export laws and the family did not have a valid PetSafe reservation.
The airline said it recommended a company called Gradlyn Petshipping to handle the transport of their pets.
But Gradlyn told the family it was unable to book the pets on the same flight because United Airlines had suspended its PetSafe reservations program beginning March 20.
The animals were instead scheduled to be on a Lufthansa flight departing 30 minutes after the family's flight, and they were cleared to fly.
United also said it offered to fly the family back to Germany to be reunited with their pet.
STATEMENT FROM LUFTHANSA
“At Lufthansa Group, the safety, health and security of our passengers is the utmost of importance and a first priority. The same standards hold true for any animal that we transport through Lufthansa Cargo. As a result, the family’s dog was kept from flying and remained in Frankfurt as he was not fit to fly according to the veterinarian that examined the animal. We are working closely with United Airlines and once the dog is given the approval to travel, he will be reunited with his family.”
MacEnulty’s reservation was made prior to United Airlines announcement of its review of its PetSafe travel program.
On March 20, United Airlines announced it wouldn’t accept any new reservations for ‘PetSafe Travel.’
“We will honor any existing PetSafe reservations confirmed as of March 20, 2018, although we will assist any customer that wishes to cancel their reservation. This suspension does not affect pets that travel with us in-cabin.”
The company said its voluntarily halted the service to do a review and make improvements to provide the best possible experience for its customers and their pets. The review is expected to be complete by May 1.
Last week, an United Airlines flight was diverted to St. Louis after a pet was ‘mistakenly’ loaded onto the flight.