Sunday, May 1, 2011

New forum for Sphynx lovers: Sphynx Retreat is now open!

I'm so happy!  My momma used to belong to a very popular, active sphynx forum.  She was always posting pictures there and even some movies of me too so the world could see how beautiful I am.  But then the King Admin of the forum went nutso and banned momma along with a big bunch of other people.  Momma got banned literally the very minute she deleted one of her photo albums and her diary writings (she didn't want King Admin to plagarize them by posting them publically as his work like he'd done with some stolen poetry).  She said her biggest offence though was that she talked to her kitty friends every day on Facebook and King Admin didn't like some of those friends so he decided to ban everyone who talked to the people he didn't like.  Momma said he was just pissed that people were getting together and talking outside of his realm and discovering his lies.  Momma said they finally caught up with him and that's why so many people also left before they got banned.

Last week Gramma and Grampy came to visit and Gramma asked momma if she had been a bad girl.  Several months ago momma had made Gramma her very own account at the sphynx forum cause Gramma liked looking at the kitty pictures and reading about all the cat people who were crazier than her daughter.  Gramma used to visit there a couple times a week - but last week she couldn't see her kitty pictures cause when she tried to log in she got a special message calling her by momma's name and saying that she'd been caught and was banned!  Momma laughed until she cried cause King Admin banned an innocent 72 year-old lady  thinking it was her.  She laughed about it all evening.  Gramma says she's never going to let momma make her any accounts ever again which makes momma laugh even harder.  She's laughing some more as she types this.  I think momma is crazy.

But enough of that - there's a reason I'm so happy!  There's a new forum in town for sphynxies! The Sphynx Retreat. "Where you can gather valuable knowledge about the Sphynx breed, as well as share your stories, joys, sorrows, and love with other Sphynx parents."  You can read about a special silent auction to benefit HCM featuring Dina Manzo and Grandma Wrinkles.  Or read about Piglet, a very special Delta Society certified therapy kitty.  Or enter a discussion and talk about your own hairless wonder.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

DELTA: Snicker's Life is worth $10

Just posted over at Sphynxlair - sadly no, this isn't a joke. 

Hi Everyone, I wanted to first thank everyone for their support. You are all truly wonderful.

I haven't posted an update on Delta because I feel so defeated & mentally exhausted. To explain: In the end, they (Billy Freeman/Delta Airlines) have finally put a price tag on life. They have valued my Snickers life based on dimensional weight. They equate each pound to be worth 50 cents. The carrier had a dimensional weight of 20 pounds. Doing some really simple mathematics, the value of life in this instance is $10. (True Colors anyone?)

The sad part is this -- I would rather have had them tell me to go screw then to add insult to an already devastating situation. $10? Are you kidding me?

I emailed Billy to let him know he must have made a error when he was typing to give him & Delta the benefit of the doubt. I also asked to deal with another department from this point forward. His only response was that his supervisor is expecting my signed agreement back as soon as possible. And on that note -- they don't deserve another response from me.

In my opinion, it is not a mistake that defines a company -- what defines a company is how they work to remedy the situation, both in the short & long term. Delta, this is a "test" of integrity YOU HAVE FAILED. You have failed Snickers, you have failed your patrons, you have failed your stockholders & most importantly, you have failed yourselves.

Felt good to say that. Heather

Friday, January 28, 2011

Support and Empathy Run-around from Delta

Dear Mr. Freeman,

I appreciate you sending your response in PDF format, it makes printing for my records much cleaner.

To answer the question in said letter dated January 27, 2011; I will be the one you will deal with from this point forward; I am copying Linda on this email so that she can also confirm the above statement with you.

Your letter dated January 27, 2011 made it sound as though we have provided you with no documents -- I know that simply is just not the case. I need you to confirm the documents already in your possession. It is my knowledge you have a copy of the airway bill, my formal complaint, Linda's formal complaint, as well as a copy of my signed agreement with the breeder which acts as my receipt of purchase. (It is my direct knowledge you have at the very minimum the adoption contract as I sent it to you myself)

I feel dealing with the claims department on an animal rights issue to be reprehensible. I also feel as though Delta has something to hide by not providing the documentation to support the conclusion in your letter dated on January 27, 2011. If the documentation supported that claim, providing it would do nothing more then confirmation of what you have already told me. It leads me to believe there were other factors you have found that led to the death of my dear pet Snickers.

Unfortunately, I do not hold a law degree. If I did, I would understand what you classify as Delta Airlines Inc's liability. Since I do not hold the education level needed to comprehend such conditions of contract in your air waybill, I will either need to hire a qualified professional to explain them to me, or you could simply explain what Delta Airline Inc's air waybill means in language the average person would understand. Including but not limited to liability.

Since your spokeswoman Susan C. Elliott was eager to publicize that Delta was now turning their attention to offering condolences & discussions with me into what she called "restitution" as a means of "support" I assume you will have no issues providing me with the above.

Spokeswoman Susan C. Elliott has also conveyed that Delta is: "extremely empathetic with the customer. We've offered our support to her, and we've been doing everything we can to work with her."

If that is truly the case, she must have me mixed up with another Heather Lombardi. While I don't doubt for a minute you are supportive & empathetic to this other Heather Lombardi, I have had the opposite experience with your company. I hope you can clear up the confusion with your spokeswoman Susan C. Elliott; I have received nothing but cold & condescending treatment considering the circumstances. I hope she can retract her statements of support & empathy or maybe Delta can actually convey that support & empathy to me & my family in this time of grieving.

I thank you, in anticipation, for your cooperation.


Heather Lombardi
Devastated Pet Owner

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Delta: Secrecy is the Best Policy!

"Delta Logo Here"

January 27, 2011

Ms. Heather Lombardi

My Address

Re: Delta File 11 5738

Airbill 006-0352310
Dated 1/22/2011

Dear Ms. Lombardi;

Thank you for your email of January 26, 2011 concerning your email of January 25, 2011, which you characterized as a formal complaint. As you may be aware, we have also received an email from the shipper, INSERT NAME HERE, which she also characterizes as a formal complaint (INSERT NAME HERE is receiving a copy of this email). We would appreciate receiving clarification from you and/or INSERT NAME HERE as to which of you is entitled to proceed with a claim for damages, if, in fact, damages are being sought.

As far as causation and possible remedial measures are concerned, as we have already informed you, this unfortunate incident was the result of a mechanical problem which necessitated opening the cargo bin door manually, a difficult and time consuming procedure, especially in the extreme cold weather at the time. This was an unforeseen situation concerning the aircraft and not the result of faulty animal handling procedures.

Please be advised that Delta will not be providing either you or INSERT NAME HERE with any further information or reports concerning this incident nor regarding any remedial measures which may be taken. Should either of you wish to quantify a claim against Delta, please do so and provide any documentary supports, in order that we can respond accordingly, recognizing that any liability on the part of Delta Airlines, Inc. is governed by the airway bill conditions of contract.

We thank you, in anticipation, for your cooperation.


Billy S. Freeman

Claims Manager

I wonder what they think about these links from today?

ABC News 
The Consumerist 
USA Today 
The Boston Globe 
The Seattle Times 
The Star Tribune 
Fox 8 News from Cleveland OH 
CBS News from Hartford CT 
San Francisco Chronicle 
The Register Citizen 
NCB New York 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Delta Blames "Mechanical Problems" for Snicker's Death

From: Freeman, Billy []
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 2:39 PM
To: 'Heather Lombardi'
Subject: RE: FW: Sphynx Kitten Death

Dear Ms. Lombardi:

Thank you for your offer, however, your involvement is not necessary. As we previously advised, we are conducting an internal investigation and will take any corrective measures which may be deemed warranted.

As matters now stand, every indication is that this unfortunate incident was the result of a mechanical problem which necessitated opening the cargo bin door manually, instead of mechanically, resulting in a delay in accessing the contents of the cargo bin. Such unforeseen and unpredictable mechanical problems are, as you can well appreciate, difficult to anticipate or prevent.

On another note, when we spoke on Monday, you indicated that you would provide us with a copy of the vet's paperwork which recommended that a hairless cat not be shipped when temperatures were anticipated to be under 20° degrees Fahrenheit. We would appreciate your sending this document to us, for our records. If you consider making a claim, we would also appreciate receipts for amounts requested. Claim # 11 52738 has been assigned to our correspondences.


Billy S. Freeman

Claims Manager

Delta Cargo

From: Heather Lombardi []
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 5:35 PM
To: 'Freeman, Billy'
Subject: RE: FW: Sphynx Kitten Death

Dear Mr. Freeman,

I appreciate you doing such a thorough investigation. I will continue to have patience with you & anticipate reading the findings in said report.

Yesterday I emailed you my formal complaint per your air bill requirements. Can you please confirm it was entered & received?

I will be happy to provide any documentation you would like for your records. (Your statement that the veterinarian clearance stated that “hairless cats” not be shipped in temperatures was inaccurate, it was a direct reference to the victim on flight #738, not the breed) Additionally for my records, I require a full & un-redacted copy of the investigation including all witness statements & findings. Once I receive your report, I can “consider” making the claim you referenced below & if I so decide, I will furnish anything you may require to the extent I am capable.

I prematurely sent you my purchase contract/receipt the other day. Did you not receive it?

Although your email was very cold considering the referenced circumstances, I was very pleased to hear you plan on making the corrective measures warranted. While you claim you cannot prevent or foresee a mechanical issue, you must have them often. So while this specific issue may have been a surprise to Delta, they know they happen & should have the appropriate safeguards in place to prevent the death or injury of its human & animal cargo. With that said, I assume those are the corrective measures you are referring too – you plan on purchasing, creating & implementing the procedures & equipment necessary to deliver the animals & people safely without injury to their destinations.

To be more specific, the cat was freezing due to no climate control, so you are going to purchase & implement the equipment needed to keep the cabin climate controlled during such mechanical failures. The vehicle in which they are transported in is open to the elements & certainly did not help her unstable condition, so you are going to purchase heated vans to properly take them to the terminal from the tarmac. And so on.

Those are the type of corrective measures that are not only appropriate but quite obviously necessary & would have saved the life of an innocent animal. While you cannot foresee a mechanical error on a certain day or time, you know they will happen & quite apparently do not have the proper safeguards in place for when they do occur.

Also, I looked on your website & cannot find any information on what you classify as climate controlled cargo. I think it is appropriate to explain that to me since I paid for it.

I look forward to hearing a positive response from you on these corrective measures you have assured me will be taken so I can tell everyone it is safe for their animals to fly at all temperatures.

Heather Lombardi

MSNBC article
PETA: Animals Aren't Cargo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Delta Responds to Snicker's Death on Flight 738

My momma is so mad that if she was a dog she'd be growling.  Here is Delta's response to killing Snickers, the little Sphynx kitten entrusted to their care on flight 738. 

From: Freeman, Billy []
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 2:13 PM
To: 'Heather Lombardi'
Subject: RE: Sphynx Kitten Death

Dear Ms. Lombardi,

Thank you for your email. Please be assured that I did not take offense during our conversation or at certain statements in your email. I have been a Lead Peer Grief counselor with Delta for over 9 years, which has provided me with insight into the different ways that people express their grief.

As I indicted to you, we are conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. When that investigation is completed, we will advise you accordingly. Delta is, of course, sensitive to our customer's concerns. Rest assured that we make every effort to comply with federal regulations governing the carriage of live animals. We have a number of safeguards built into our system and are constantly seeking ways to improve that system, when and where necessary. You will, I'm sure, recognize that situations do arise which are unexpected and beyond our control.

May we express our condolences for your loss. Please remember, however, that our air waybill (#006-0353-2104) is our contract of carriage with you and governs both your rights and liabilities and Delta's in this situation.

Thank you, in advance, for your patience and understanding."

Billy S. Freeman

Claims Manager

Delta Cargo

From: Heather Lombardi []
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 2:52 PM
To: 'Freeman, Billy'
Subject: RE: Sphynx Kitten Death

Hi Billy, I will do my very best to not take the comment about my rights & your liability to heart. (No promises though) To be honest, I don’t care about your liability or my rights. The only thing that concerns me is that an innocent animal lost its life on Flight #738. I want to know what went wrong & how Delta will fix the problem so another animal doesn’t need to suffer or lose its life. That is why I am asking questions, I want to know what went wrong.

I don’t care if you are sensitive to my concerns, what I care about is that you safely transport the animals that are trusted to you. So no need to be nice. Just deliver what you are paid for.

In regards to the safeguards in the system in place for the transport of live animals, doing a quick Google search will clearly indicate that the safeguards are not effective. Seeing what happened on Flight #738, the safeguards failed & it seems to be a trend not just with Delta, but across the board with all airlines.

Lets just pretend that I own a restaurant & my main cuisine was Italian food, but I decided that I wanted to start serving hamburgers as well to meet my paying customers desires/demand. I wear gloves, but sneeze in the vat of hamburger meat. I wear a hairnet, but don’t thoroughly cook the meat. I then kill a customer from E Coli. Who cares that the customer is dead -- I can sleep at night because I have safeguards, I wore gloves & a hairnet. (Hope you can connect the dots with that one)

I commend you for helping people grieve when they need it the most, it is a valiant thing to care & have compassion for others. I hope you see that the way I have chosen to grieve is to seek change. Change for a broken system that is letting so many animals down. I am a big girl; I will get over the loss of Snickers. Unfortunately, Snickers doesn’t quite have that same luxury since HER right to live was taken away.

I will happily volunteer to help Delta identify & make the changes needed to improve those broken safeguards as they claim they are constantly seeking. The best part is, I wouldn’t even charge you. I was raised to be proactive, I was taught that if there is a piece of paper on the floor to pick it up. You don’t walk by it complaining about it being there. You identify the problem & you fix it.

I hope to talk to you soon, Heather

USA Today 
Kitten Death on Delta 
People Magazine Pet Website 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kitten Death on Delta Airlines

The following tragic story was originally posted by doriansmomma at on Sunday, January 23, 2011.  It's horrific on so many levels - but what it boils down to is airline greed and Delta deliberately misleading us, the public, into thinking that transporting an animal in CLIMATE CONTROLLED CARGO is safe.  Please read this and learn the truth!

Hi Everyone, Last night our family experienced the worst tragedy I have ever personally experienced & I wanted to post this hoping to reach as many Sphynx cat owners & breeders as I possibly can.

We purchased an 11 week old Sphynx kitten from a breeder & her flight was scheduled to come in last night at 8:40PM on Delta Flight # 738 into BDL (Hartford). (Climate controlled cargo by Delta Dash)

We arrived at the airport at 8:15pm, camera & 2 kids in hand to pick up our long awaited new arrival. We immediately went to baggage claim where we would pick her up from her long flight from Utah.

When we arrived, we were told to go sit by the conveyors for luggage & that as soon as the plane was unloaded, they would bring our new family member out to us. We waited & waited & at 8:50 I went to the baggage claim & asked for an update. I told the woman that the kitten was a Sphynx & had no hair & that I was beginning to worry since it was only 7 degrees outside. I was told the flight had arrived on time (8:40pm), but to sit back down, that the cargo hold latch was stuck, but they were doing all they could & would bring her out as soon as they could.

I wasn't incredibly alarmed, After all, I paid $290 for her to be in a climate controlled cargo area. I figured she would be fine as long as she wasn't outdoors. At 9:30pm, they brought the carrier out to me & the woman who handed the carrier to me told me I should take her out & that the carrier was very cold. She removed the zip ties & I took the carrier to the floor & opened the door.

The kitten was ICE cold, limp, and unresponsive. I IMMEDIATELY put her into my coat, grabbed my kids by the hands & ran out of the airport to get her into my car & cranked up the heat putting all vents on her as I rubbed her trying to warm her up.

She couldn't lift or control any limbs, her breathing was labored, she had a blank stare in her eyes, and she let out a meow. As if to say help me -- please.

We rushed her to the emergency vet clinic, but to my utter devastation, on the drive, she let out a blood curdling cry & went completely limp as we frantically drove to the vet.

When we arrived, I literally ran in, and gave her to the nurse who whisked her into the back. After 10 minutes, a vet came out & told me that she that she was "DOA" and that there was nothing they could have done to save her. There was nothing I could have done to save her either.

The vet then explained to me that once a plane lands, the cargo compartment depressurizes & there is no longer climate control. She told me that she didn't stand a chance in this freezing weather sitting in the Delta Cargo hold for almost 50 minutes.

I spent the rest of the night last night crying & more or less having a nervous breakdown. She died cold, lonely & scared. Her last hour of life was spent frozen & unable to escape. I am so utterly devastated -- I cannot express to anyone how this feels. I am so sad for her, her little 11 week life lost for no reason. A tragedy that could have been prevented if the airline had valued her little promising life.

Delta didn't have much to say to me last night & I am waiting for the president of cargo to call me today, the bottom line is that they can't bring her back to me or my family, there is nothing they can say or do to make this whole. We don't want a new kitten, we fell in love with HER. She was our new child & there is nothing that can be done to bring her home to us. Snickers lost her life unnecessarily.

I just hope that by reading this, I can save someone else the devastation. If you are buying a kitten & live in a cold climate -- PLEASE RETHINK SHIPMENT WHEN IT IS BELOW 30 degrees. If you are a breeder -- PLEASE RETHINK SHIPMENT if you are shipping to an area below 30 degrees. You can put a kitten in a climate controlled cargo, but if it depressurizes -- IT IS NO LONGER CLIMATE CONTROLLED.

Please please please don't let another kitten die, be patient, let it warm up a bit. As we all know, these hairless creatures are the most loving wonderful animals, but they just don't stand a chance against a cargo area that is utterly freezing with employees who are more concerned with getting luggage to their respective owners. Value life everyone, I have just experienced something I pray no one here has too. Don't let Snickers lost life be in vain, I pray you guys read this & maybe another kittens life won't be lost to the cold & lonely Delta Cargo holds.

 And here she is, the beautiful Snickers only 2 weeks before she took the flight that claimed her life.

(The original thread can be read in its entirety at Kitten death on Delta ).