MONTREAL (AP) — Air Canada is in the doghouse over a spokesman's remarks following the disappearance of a dog who escaped airline staff at a California airport.
The company says handlers at San Francisco International Airport took the dog out of his crate on Monday after his flight was delayed and the pet either slipped out of his collar or broke it.
Air Canada says the dog — an Italian greyhound named Larry — bolted, and was last spotted about five miles from the airport.
A local TV station took interest and says it asked the airline about its procedures after obtaining a statement about the incident.
Instead, the station says it accidentally received an email from spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick urging his colleagues to ignore the inquiry — and what sounded like a jab at the U.S. government shutdown.
"I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog. Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the US media spends its time," the station said the email read.
Word quickly spread online, with many voicing their outrage. The airline released a statement Friday.
"Air Canada acknowledges inappropriate comments were made in response to a reporter's follow-up questions for additional details regarding Larry," it said.
"However, Air Canada has been providing the best available information to media on this matter. These comments do not reflect Air Canada's standards or professionalism, and do not refer to the search for Larry by Air Canada employees which is ongoing."