UPDATE: On December 9, the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported that the still-unidentified owner of the dog had been located in Corpus Christi, Texas, and he said Jones had “overreacted.” He told city animal control officers that the 6-year-old Pointer, named Tex, was naturally thin and had been hunting just before the flight, leaving him lethargic. Lemont Baggling of the animal control department told the Caller Times that the dog appeared to be healthy, but the department will continue to monitor him.
Lynn Jones, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport baggage handler who was fired after she refused to load a starved and bleeding Pointer onto a plane, has been rehired.
Jones, a contractor for Airport Terminal Services (ATS), told the Reno Gazette Journal last week that she had seen the hunting dog in the airport’s cargo area on November 15. The dog was emaciated, his body was covered with sores, and his paws were raw and bleeding.
When Jones’ supervisor, who has not been identified, ordered her to load the dog and she refused, she was fired on the spot. She was told by ATS later that day that she was terminated because she had “abandoned” her job.
The news of Jones being fired — instead of being rewarded for her compassion — went viral early this week, sparking international public outcry.
On Tuesday, Airport Terminal Services President Sally A. Leible posted a statement on the company website saying she had offered Jones her job back, with full back pay.
“We applaud Ms. Lynn Jones’ courage to report the unfavorable condition of the animal she encountered, and we encourage others to be as vigilant as she was,” Leible wrote.
According to mynews4.com, Jones accepted Leible’s offer and will return to work next week. “We’re like a family at ATS, and we fight and we make up and we move on, so hopefully we can move on from this,” Jones told reporter Victoria Campbell.
Jones said she is excited to return to work, but still worried about the emaciated dog.
“The dog is the victim and it’s still out there,” Jones told Campbell. “So the focus needs to be off me and on the dog.”
Mynews4.com reported that the dog’s owner, who lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, rents the Pointer to hunters. Reno-Tahoe International Airport spokesman Brian Kulpin said the airport police would not press charges. However, he said that animal control officials in Corpus Christi are investigating the dog’s owner to ensure the dog is safe.
Yesterday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced it was honoring Jones with a Compassionate Action Award.
“I would do it again, I would,” Jones told mynews4.com. “You just have to.”