UPDATE: An emotional support dog that was lost while being taken out to be relieved before boarding a flight to Florida on Thursday night has been found.
Airport Public Information Officer Nancy Volmer said the dog was found safe inside the parking garage near the International terminal on Saturday afternoon.
The dog is in good condition and the owner will be notified by JetBlue they found her dog.
No other information was made available.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – What was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for a Utah woman has turned into a nightmare after she says an airline lost her emotional support dog.
“I’m in the middle of a crisis,” Lilian Ramos said. “This is my best friend, this is, my companion. The one that helps me from falling into a crisis,” she added.
Ramos and her husband say they were scheduled to take a JetBlue flight from Salt Lake City to Orlando, FL Thursday night. They were going to the Sunshine State for a family reunion and to visit their kids who they say they haven’t seen in one year. Ramos says about 15 minutes before it was time to board the flight, Phillip needed to use the restroom, so she followed JetBlue’s guidelines about traveling with an emotional support dog, and notified an employee.
“I did what the email said, which was to go find a crew member, introduce yourself, introduce the pet, and they will take you to the Pet Relief Area,” Ramos said.
After she found an employee, Ramos told News4Utah’s Brittany Johnson, that she was instructed to “hand over the dog.” Ramos said she was reluctant at first but the JetBlue employee gave her a choice to either board the flight while her dog was being taken to the restroom or she would lose her seat.
Before the flight took off Ramos said she and her husband were asked to get off the plane, and were greeted by someone named Michael.
“He turned around and said “we have lost your pet and we are looking for your pet, and you have lost your flight,” “ Ramos recalled the employee saying.
According to Ramos it was nearly 90 minutes later when Michael came back with Phillip’s “collar and leash” and said “we can’t find your dog, here’s Phillip’s things.” Ramos said she looked at her husband and asked, “what does this mean? is he [Phillip] dead?”
“I have a mental disability that causes me to have a great amount of anxiety and he is the one that calms me, wherever I go,” Ramos said, trying to hold back tears.
As of this report, Phillip is still missing.
News4Utah did reach out to JetBlue for a statement. Here’s what Morgan Johnston, Manager of Corporate Communications said over the phone:
- This is an ongoing situation
- The customer needed to speak with a crew member
- The dog needed to relieve itself during boarding
- The only customer accessible release area is pre-security
- A crew member took the dog to an area used by all airlines post security where non badged individuals are not allowed
- The customer agreed and she boarded the plane
- The dog slipped from his collar and ran
- The crew member tried to chase after the dog
- The crew member radioed to other crew members at the gate
- All hands on deck have been working with airport authorities
- We booked the customer on another carrier leaving Friday morning while we continue looking for the animal
- We are communicating with the customer as well
Editors note: A previous version of this story called the animal a service dog. We have since learned the correct title for the animal is “emotional support dog”.