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Updated: 13th November 2019 15:05 Edmonton

Cat that escaped at airport froze to death

A cat that escaped from its carrier on the tarmac of the Edmonton International Airport in September has been found dead.

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George the cat escaped from his carrier on the tarmac of the Edmonton International Airport in September. (Facebook )

A cat that escaped from its kennel on the tarmac of the Edmonton International Airport in September has been found dead.

The body of George was found on the grounds of the airport on Monday, a victim of a cold snap that hit the Edmonton area late last week.

"To know that the poor cat, like he froze to death, is just heartbreaking," George's owner Vanessa Summerfield said Thursday.

George escaped from his kennel on Sept. 23 after his Air Canada flight from Fort McMurray landed in Edmonton. Ground staff were able to put him back in the carrier the first time he got out, but then he escaped again.

The airline says a key bolt was missing from the door of the kennel.

Pets are family members, not luggage, owner says

Summerfield always held out hope that George would be found. According to Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah, ground crew members had periodically seen George on the tarmac and continued to look for him. They set out food in hopes it would bring him back to the terminal.

Air Canada let airport staff and officials with the nearby city of Leduc know about the cat's disappearance. The airport authority also distributed a photo of George around the terminal.

"Air Canada's Edmonton team is so sad about George," Mah said in an email to CBC News.

"Since George escaped his kennel after arriving in YEG on September 23, we had always remained hopeful as there had been periodic sightings in our daily search for him and this is difficult for everyone involved."

Summerfield was sending George to stay with her family in Ontario while she looked for a pet-friendly place to live in Fort McMurray.  She says pets are members of people's families and airlines should quit treating them like luggage.

"I personally think something should be done about that," Summerfield said. "I'm going to look more into it. Right now it's not my biggest concern. My concern is to know, and figure out, what I'm going to do with George.

"I would love for this to never happen to anybody else, ever again."

In her statement, Mah says Air Canada takes "utmost care" in handling animals. The airline ships thousands of animals each year, and escapes are rare, she said.



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