"Princess," the poodle shot dead at an airport in Hainan province on Jan. 2, is seen in this undated combo photo. (Internet Photo)
A dog owner has brought a 37,000-yuan (US$5,800) lawsuit against Hainan Airlines to compensate for the death of her poodle, which was shot dead by airport authorities last week after escaping from its cage and onto the runway.
Hainan province airport authorities shot and killed "Princess," a white poodle, after it escaped from its cage and began frantically running around the runway. The decision to kill the dog was made following a standard procedure, aimed at preventing the animal from being sucked into an aircraft engine during takeoff and landing, which would pose a serious threat to passengers.
Princess’ owner, a woman known as Ni, claimed that the airline company refused to bear any responsibility regardless of a contract made between her and the airline that she would carry the animal to the airport.
The incident prompted the pet owner’s daughter, known as "Sunny Meow" on China’s popular microblogging service Sina Weibo, to express her grief on the web, where her posts received a considerable amount of attention from other netizens.
Ni flew from Beijing to Haikou with her poodle, Princess, on the afternoon of Jan. 2. After landing, she was notified by airport authorities that the animal had escaped from its cage. A press release from the airport stated that the tight packing on the long flight had warped the cage, allowing the door to be opened from the inside. According to airport staff, the dog jumped out of its cage when it was being transported near the runway on a trolley that carried luggage from the aircraft to the terminal.
Ten airport staff members were sent to catch Princess. Concerned that the terrified animal, which was running on the lawn between the runways, would be sucked into aircraft engines during take off and landing, the authorities shot the dog, following standard procedure.
The owner’s daughter told reporters that the airline company has not admitted to mishandling the poodle, which has prompted them to take legal action. On Jan. 7, the company stated its determination to provide better service in the future.


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