The wife of a top flight AFL player has accused Qantas of “animal abuse” after her dog went missing for hours when it was supposed to be on a plane to Perth.
Tayla Broad, wife of Richmond defender Nathan Broad, detailed the doggie drama involving her French Bulldog Charlie on Instagram.
“Qantas, you have a lot of explaining to do,” thundered the model and former reality TV star who got married last year.
Posting on Tuesday, Broad, 25, who was on Love Island Australia, said the couple’s dog was supposed to depart on a flight early that morning from Melbourne to Western Australia.
But when the plane landed, Charlie wasn’t on it.
“Qantas didn’t notify us of any changes so my brother has been waiting at Perth airport to collect him for hours,” she wrote.
“No one is able to tell us where Charlie is. Just that he didn’t get put on his morning flight.
“We are unsure if he is currently in the air or still stuck inside a crate at the airport”.
Inquiries to Qantas staff were futile, Broad said, as everyone had a “different answer” as to the pooch’s whereabouts.
“We should have been informed and given the opportunity to collect our little man hours ago – if he even is in Melbourne that is.
“This is disgusting and animal abuse,” she said.
A Qantas spokesperson told news.com.au that “unfortunately” the pet was unable to travel on its scheduled flight and was put onto the following available flight later in the day.
“Our team regularly checked the pet was OK, refilled their water and made sure the crate was clean,” the spokesperson said.
“The crate was kept under cover in our freight terminal while waiting.
“We know how important it is for people to know their pets are well cared for when they’re travelling with us.
“We’re sorry for the delay and we’re working with our pet travel agents to make sure we can get them where they need to go as soon as possible.”
Later that day, Broad updated Instagram to say that Charlie did indeed make it to Perth.
She said Qantas had made the decision to put the dog on a far later flight without informing her.
Broad claimed Charlie was left in a crate for 14 hours.
“In what world is that OK?” she said.
While the dog had made it to his destination, Broad said he wasn’t faring well.
“This is breaking our hearts. He is so rattled. Couldn’t get up our stairs due to exhaustion. So dehydrated, drooling and out of sorts.
“He is still so anxious and he can’t stop excessively drooling.”
Brand said she would be contacting animal welfare groups the RSPCA and PETA.
In an update on Wednesday morning, Broad shared a photo of Charlie buried in a dog bed.
“Charlie won’t even look at us this morning. I hate that he thinks we put him through that,” she wrote.
‘Inherent risks’ flying some dogs
Short nosed dogs, such as French bulldogs, are at a higher risk of health complications from air travel due to their constricted airways.
Online, Qantas says it will carry dogs with snub noses, known as brachycephalic breeds, but there are “inherent risks” to doing so. It insists travel is booked through a pet travel specialist that will manage the booking and advise on documentation needed.
“At Qantas, safety is our first priority and our pet travel policies have been designed to protect the wellbeing of all pets who travel with us,” the airline stated.
Broad appears to have managed Charlie’s travel through a travel specialist called Departure Pets.
News.com.au has contacted Tayla Broad and Departure Pets for comment.
In 2020, the RSPCA advised owners of brachycephalic breeds to not put them on planes at all.
“The risks to these flat-faced breeds are unfortunately so great, that even with the best care, we believe transporting them by air is simply too dangerous”.
There was plenty of criticism of Qantas online after Broad shared her story.
“I hope Tayla goes hard on Qantas. Absolutely disgusting to mistreat a living being that doesn’t have a voice”.
However, some commenters said they simply would not have flown their pet.
“Tbh (sic) I would never do this to my dog regardless I would have just driven to get him. Dogs are family you would do this to your child.”
Another suggested throwing an Air Tag tracking device into the crate so you could see where the dog was located.
Tayla (nee Damir) and Nathan Broad married in October.
In February the pair shared a picture on Instagram of her in the kitchen with her growing baby bump showing. They captioned the photo: “Cooking for three”.
They also shared an ultrasound picture, as well as a picture of the two of them hugging while holding Charlie and a sign, which read: “It’s a girl!”
Broad gave birth in August to daughter Samara.