Military family pleads with airlines to fly their dog home to SC

Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) — Recent headlines of family dogs dying on airline flights means that airlines now have stricter guidelines as to which breeds can fly.

That's creating a headache for one military family from South Carolina.

A boxer named Ceberus is part of the family.

The Johnsons are members of the Marine Corps stationed in Hawaii. They are trying to figure out how to fly home with their dog when they get transferred back to South Carolina.

"We ended up bringing him here through Delta. We hoped that when we leave the island, we could use Delta to ship him back home, but that is no longer the case," said Zanna Johnson.

But after a series of high-profile incidents, most major airlines have stiffened their requirements on what breeds are allowed to fly.

"Snub-nosed and pug-nosed" dogs in particular are restricted due to health concerns.

That means most airlines won't allow Ceberus on board to fly with his family.

"So Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Alaskan, I've called this military PCS Transport. I've called an emailed them, they haven't gotten back to me. I've called an emailed other places, they haven't gotten back to me," Johnson said.

Mt. Pleasant veterinarian Dr. Scott Senf says he understands why airlines are putting short-nosed dogs on the short list.

"They don't handle extra heat, stress in a normal setting. But when you put them under the stressful situation of flying , in the cargo, with these large layovers, then they can get into some serious stress," he said.

He said not every breed of short-nosed dogs have health problems and Boxers can be quite healthy.

"You have dogs in that category, that, if they were checked out properly, that could fly," he said.

Ultimately the Johnsons hope they can find options for Ceberus because leaving him behind isn't something they want to think about.

"We cannot leave him here. He's our family. We don't want to leave family behind you know," Johnson said.

There is good news on the horizon.

The Johnsons have found a company that will ship Ceberus to JFK International airport. The family is in contact with another company that could ground transport him to South Carolina.

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