Supporters have flocked by the thousands to both the Jack The Cat is Lost in AA Baggage at JFK and American Airline Facebook pages in the hours since both Jack’s family and AA announced early last evening that the 5 year old Norwegian Forest cat had been released from his suffering. Though family and supporters were overjoyed as Jack was Found! on Tuesday, October 25, the cat who’d endured so much misery while lost at the AA baggage and customs departments at JFK airport would only live another 12 days. As we reported last night in RIP Jack The Cat, and as most people with even a glancing familiarity with the story know today, Jack’s family and doctors agreed yesterday to end his life. The effects of injury and malnutrition had caused so much wasting and damage that no amount of medical care could restore him to health and well being.
The matter of flying pets in cargo aside, all of Jack’s suffering and his family’s concern, not to mention AA’s PR troubles, could have been averted if his carrier had been handled more carefully in the airline’s baggage department. Had his carrier not been placed in such a manner that it was able to tumble and break, we would likely never have heard of him, and he would likely be alive and well at his new home in San Jose CA today. That is perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of his saga.
Our post from last night included an excerpt from the sad announcement of Jack’s passing as it was expressed on the Jack The Cat page. Here is the announcement made last night by American Airlines. They include an apology.
American Airlines UPDATE: November 6, 7:20 PM CDT.
Unfortunately, Jack the cat had to be euthanized by the veterinarian today. We are deeply saddened that Jack the cat has passed away, and we offer profound sympathy to Jack’s owner, Karen Pascoe, for her loss. Our heart also goes out to the Friends of Jack and those in the cat-loving community who have grown fond of Jack since he went missing. We understand that a cat is a beloved family member for so many, including our own employees.
From all of us at American, our sincere apologies to Karen and Jack’s family and friends. We also thank all of you who have provided support, ideas, kindness and understanding for Jack along the way.
A DOT Pet Incident Report released last month revealed how the terrible misadventure began. The Jack the Cat page states that Karen Pascoe provided Jack with a sturdy carrier in good condition for his flight, and that she secured the crate door firmly as she said goodbye to him when they parted ways at the AA baggage department. One of AA’s statements, after Jack went missing and became the object of international attention and scrutiny, indicated that the crate was determined to have a missing bolt when examined as part of their investigation. That statement implies that a substandard crate was to blame, though they did not say that in so many words. The Department of Transportation report revealed that Jack’s crate was stacked on top of another crate on a baggage cart and it toppled off, fell to the ground and broke open, causing the cat to panic and run.
Since the announcement of the sad news, American Airlines’ Facebook page is once again inundated with posts and comments from Jack supporters, and snide “get a life” type responses from the haters and the type of person always looking to offend and inflame. Some commenters claim that AA is deleting certain posts and comments from Jack’s supporters. Since we did not check in with the AA page until this morning, we cannot verify that.
Sympathetic supporters have checked in and commented at the Jack the Cat page by the thousands. The community formed over the lost cat has the heart, the passion, the numbers, the talent, the ability and the power to continue to work to help animals. They have demonstrated that already, not only in their efforts for Jack, but as they rescued and transported several cats rounded up in searches for Jack at JFK airport. May their good work continue.
For anyone interested, who has not seen it, here is the text of the incident report submitted by AA to the DOT:
AMERICAN AIRLINES / AUGUST, 2011DOT PET INCIDENT REPORT
Carrier and Flight Number
American Airlines Flight #177
Date and Time of the Incident
25 August 2011
Description of the Animal, Including Name
Feline “Tabby Cat”, named Jack
Narrative Description of Incident
This incident occurred prior to the loading of the kennel(s) on the aircraft. The customer was traveling with 2 kennels containing 1 cat in each one. A clerk had placed one kennel on top of another on a baggage cart and the kennel on top fell and resulted in the cat escaping. The entire FIS area, where this occurred, was searched and efforts to immediately locate “Jack” were unsuccessful. Subsequent efforts to locate Jack have also been unsuccessful. Some of the extraordinary efforts taken by AA to locate Jack include: posting photos of Jack in key areas around JFK and local businesses, consulting with the Mayor’s Alliance Society to set up humane traps on the airport property, consulting with the port authority and wildlife management representatives, hiring a professional “pet tracker” and issuing a “Pet Amber Alert”.
Narrative Description of Cause of the Incident
The clerk responsible for transporting the kennels to the FIS area loaded one kennel on top of another, and while the kennels were stationary and waiting to be loaded on the aircraft, the kennel positioned on the top fell to the ground. The impact of the fall caused the kennel to separate and the cat escaped.
Narrative Description of any Corrective Action Taken in Response to Incident
This incident is still under investigation and no corrective action has been taken at this time.