Military dogs' death at Houston airport spurs suit

December 15, 2011 - 3:10 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — A military contractor has filed a lawsuit claiming negligence over 14 bomb-sniffing dogs found dead inside an unventilated truck last year as they awaited shipment to assist U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The suit filed in state district court in Houston by the dogs' owner, American K-9 Detection Services of Lake County, Fla., seeks unspecified damages against Indian Creek Enterprises Inc. and Live Animal Transportation Services, the Houston Chronicle (http://bit.ly/vUGgEf) reported. The contractor had previously sought compensation exceeding $1 million in trying to work out a settlement.

According to court documents, the dogs died Dec. 21, 2010, while being kept in a sealed, unventilated truck at Live Animal Transportation's shipping terminal at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport

The dogs were taken to the shipping terminal the day earlier and certified in good health by a veterinarian, the lawsuit alleges. When no flight was available that day for the dogs, Live Animal Transportation employee Christopher Hay said they would be boarded in the terminal's kennel and warehouse overnight.

However, when American K-9's agents visited the terminal early the next morning, they found the dogs inside a box truck with a foul odor detected. When the agents shook the dogs' crates, the animals did not move. All were dead, and the agents found blood on the truck floor and damage to crates suggesting the dogs had tried to escape, according to the lawsuit.

Hay, who now owns Live Animal Transportation, told the Chronicle he was unaware of the lawsuit and couldn't comment. There was no telephone listing for Indian Creek Enterprises in Houston.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com