Air Transat Flier Says Her Dog Was Left In A Crate For 21 Hours At Pearson Airport

"And he was also covered in pee."

Jena Butts at the Air Transat kiosk in Toronto Pearson Airport. Right: Winston, the foster dog.
Toronto Associate Editor

Jena Butts at the Air Transat kiosk in Toronto Pearson Airport. Right: Winston, the foster dog.

Courtesy of Jena Butts

There have been a lot of baggage issues out of Toronto Pearson Airport recently but one Air Transat flier had her foster dog, Winston, lost for over 20 hours.

On Saturday, July 2, Butts was making her way back home from Puerto Plata to Toronto with two dogs, Bella and Winston.

Winston was coming from the Dominican Republic to make it to his new forever home with a family in the 6ix, and while it wasn't Butts' first time bringing a foster dog on a plane, it was her first time flying with Air Transat.

Winston, the foster dog.Winston, the foster dog.Courtesy of Jena Butts

Aside from landing a little bit late at Pearson Airport, when Butts checked in earlier that morning "everything was fine." But when she got her two suitcases and her dog, Bella, after she landed at 2 a.m., Winston was nowhere to be found.

"When I went, there was just my one big dog and another big dog that wasn't mine," Butts said.

After a bit of a goose chase between dealing with "one baggage guy" at the airport that night to calling the airline to file a claim for "missing baggage", Winston was finally found about 21 hours later by someone who worked at customs. The dog was found in the back of the room mixed in with all of the other lost bags, and was "covered in pee" because he was stuck in his crate the whole time.

"Have you ever seen a border security person cry?" Butts asked. "This woman, her face was bright red and she was crying. She ripped open his crate and had a bowl of water in front of him."

Air Transat's response

A spokesperson for Air Transat told Narcity that the airline's taking the issue "very seriously" and that they have launched a full investigation into what had happened over the weekend.

"We are deeply sorry that Ms. Butts and her dog Winston had to go through this stressful situation and have contacted her to offer compensation and to apologize once again for what happened," Bernard Côté, the director of public relations for the airline told Narcity via email. "We are glad she and Winston are now reunited and wish them our very best."

When Butts spoke with Narcity, she brought up how the airline had left her a voicemail apologizing for what had happened and offered her a refund of $350USD (less than $460 Canadian) for Winston's trip with them.

"I am a little insulted by that, I don't think that's sufficient," Butts said, and added that she is considering getting in touch with a lawyer.

"I would hope that there's an update in their policy going forward," Butts continued. "I wasn't met with any empathy and nobody was helping me. Nobody was even interested in helping me when I said, you know, 'my dog is missing.'"

How Winston is doing now

Butts said she kept Winston for one more day because of everything that he had just gone through.

"I said, 'You know what, maybe I can keep him with the other dog because they know each other'," Butts said.

"He was very, very traumatized, very scared. I'm trying to walk him down the street and anybody walking by he's kind of like hiding behind me and growling a little bit."

Winston is now at his new home in downtown Toronto, but Butts said the owners are "struggling" to take him out for walks in the area because "he's just scared of any human."

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor