A New South Wales family is demanding answers after their beloved French bulldog died on a flight back home from Townsville.
They had taken their pet, Bruno, with them to visit relatives, but he was found dead in his carrier at Sydney Airport.
Virgin Australia has confirmed an internal investigation is now underway, but the airline says they followed all protocols and procedures while transporting little Bruno.
The six-year-old French Bulldog was on a return flight to Sydney on Boxing Day after spending Christmas with his owners in Townsville.
Sadly when owners Kristina and Neil Maccabee went to collect him, airline staff told them their beloved pooch had died from apparent heat exhaustion.
The couple is now pointing the finger at Virgin, saying Bruno was left on the hot tarmac for 40 minutes before they boarded.
Veterinarian Lizzie Gan says it can be tricky to fly with any pet, but breeds like these with flat-nose faces are most at risk.
“They have difficulty dispelling heat or expelling heat from their narrowed airways and therefore any brachycephalic is at risk of overheating,” Dr Gan said.
Virgin says customers who fly with these types of breeds are required to sign a waiver acknowledging the risk.
According to the airline, Bruno was in the appropriate baggage area, he was always in shade and had plenty of water.
Virgin says they were sorry to hear of his passing and were taking the matter extremely seriously.