11/22/2013 04:40 EST | Updated 11/22/2013 05:19 EST

United Airlines Won't Pay Vet Bill For Injured Dog Without Signed Agreement


A woman claiming her dog was nearly killed during an United Airlines flight is still seeking compensation after the airline decided to withhold their payment unless she agreed not to talk about the matter.

Janet Sinclair was flying from Boston to San Diego back in July as part of a cross-country move. As part of her move, she paid for United Airlines' Petsafe program.

According to United's website, PetSafe is a "specially designed program for transporting animals that are not eligible to travel in the aircraft cabin." Pets are promised travel in a pressurized cabin similar to what travellers fly in.

The airline says pets are held in climate-controlled facilities both on the ground and in warehouses. Pets are the last cargo loaded and the first to be unloaded to keep them in comfort. If exposed to temperatures greater than 29.5°C for longer than 45 minutes during connections pets will receive personal handling in climate-controlled vehicles.

Sinclair says she didn't get what she paid for after signing up her cat, Alika, and her greyhound, Sedona for the program.

Speaking with NBC News' Investigative Unit, Sinclair says she saw a cargo employee kick Sedona's cage six times to move it under the shade of the plane's wing during a comfort stop at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Shocked at what she saw, she recorded video of her greyhound left outside in the shade instead of a temperature-controlled vehicle. Temperatures at the airport were record at 34°C according to NBC.

A brief version of the video has been posted on her Facebook group "United Airlines Almost Killed My Greyhound". Also posted on her Facebook group was the letter United Airlines sent to her regarding compensation for her pet's ordeals.

The $27,000 in compensation was for the vet treatment she had to pay for, according to a post on Sinclair's group.

Her crate was covered in blood, feces and urine. My cat's crate was covered in feces and vomit. My greyhound suffered severe dehydration and heat stroke. She needed to be hospitalized in intensive care for 3 days; her kidneys were failing due to heatstroke, and her liver was struggling. She was urinating and defecating blood.

But in order to receive her money, Sinclair had to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that she wouldn't talk about the incident. When Sinclair declined the conditions, United Airlines changed their tune in a second written statement.

Passengers wishing to use PetSafe must provide "a vet-issued health certificate" 10 days before the trip. A letter from Sinclair's vet stated that the greyhound was in good health prior to the trip. A report from the veterinarian who treated Sedona states that the dog's medical problems were related to the hyperthermia she suffered during the flight.

In 2012, a golden retriever died while on board a United Airlines flight from New York to San Francisco. An autopsy on the dog reveal it died of a heatstroke. The airline denied any wrong doing in the incident but did refund $1,800 to the pet's owner, New York Daily News reports.

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