Simon was a ten-month-old 3ft continental giant rabbit expected to weigh more than 25lbs when fully grown. He was bought by a mystery U.S. “celebrity buyer” who paid to fly him from Heathrow to Chicago’s O’Hare (no pun).
His devastated owner Annette Edwards from Stoulton in Worcester claims he died in the cargo hold of United Airlines flight but United later told Annette, a breeder of large rabbits and former Playboy model (Playboy bunny!) survived the flight but died when being held in a storage room in O’Hare International Airport.
Had he lived, Simon (pictured above) was expected to outgrow the world’s biggest rabbit – his 4ft 4in father Darius. This comes just weeks after the airline made headlines around the world when a doctor was dragged off a plane by stewards at O’Hare airport
“Something has gone wrong somewhere and I can’t think for a moment what it might be because nothing like this has ever happened before – it’s awful. I was devastated and for a couple of days I was feeling numb, just awful and feeling really bad and I think everybody concerned was very upset. The gentleman receiving Simon got the phone call when he was on his way to the airport to collect him to be told he had died.
What I cannot understand is if he was alright when he landed in Chicago what has happened between then and them finding him dead after he’d been checked on a couple of times? I need some answers before we send anyone else on a plane again. I was going to keep Simon but because I’ve got such a good relationship with the buyer I knew he’s going to have a good home so I was prepared to let Simon go.
I took him for a full health check at the vets on the day of his flight on the 19th of April. He went for his health check at around 6:15pm he left me around quarter past nine. He looked so happy at the vets, hopping about everywhere. He had his temperature taken, heart checked and a thorough going over which was all fine.
He went from Heathrow to Canton and when he landed at Chicago he was checked and alright he was absolutely fine apparently he was left in a room for when they’ve got another flight to go.
I’ve sent quite a lot of animals abroad before but I’d never send them anywhere if I thought there was a risk of death so I need to know the results of the investigation.
They’re now looking at CCTV to find out what’s gone wrong. At this stage we don’t know what to do and I’ve told the gentleman to let me know how he wants to go forward.
Out of all the animals that travel every day it’s very rare for something like this to happen. Pets are transported all the time and not least in the army which is why I’m so shocked.”
As a side note, Edwards previously made headlines after she spent some $15,000 on plastic surgery to transform herself into a real-life Jessica Rabbit. (Rabbit!) The great-grandmother from Worcester – who has ten children of her own – went under the knife in London for a series of operations. Over a period of a week, surgeons gave her a breast lift and a brow lift on her eyes, plus chin implants and Botox injections.
A spokesman for United Airlines said:
“We were saddened to hear this news. The safety and well-being of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team. We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter.”
(via Daily Mail)