Emilien was travelling to Dakar with Royal Air Maroc at the beginning of August. The student from Caen, northern France, took his little 5-year-old French Bulldog Gaby with him.
Like most pets, Gaby had to travel in the hold. And during the stopover in Morocco, the airline informed him that his dog, who was otherwise in perfect health, had died during the flight. No further explanation.
We paid 150 euros extra and left our dog in a carefully prepared, comfortable carrying case. But that was the last time we saw her.
"They told me to hurry to catch my connecting flight"
But the Royal Air Maroc team didn't seem to take the terrible situation seriously, providing the distressed pet parent with no official papers or certificate of death.
What's worse, they gave no explanation as to the circumstances of the dog's death and wouldn't even tell the man where the body was.
"When I asked what had happened, they said they couldn't tell me anything and that I better hurry to catch my connecting flight", says the young man.
Source : @Émilien S.
Just "lost luggage"
But Emilien and his relatives insisted, refusing to leave the Casablanca airport without their beloved dog. To no avail: despite their best efforts, they didn't manage to see their faithful companion's body again or even get a death certificate.
They told me the airline would take care of the dog's cremation and I'd have to wait at least until she was considered to be lost luggage.
Source : @Émilien S.
Death by suffocation?
After the news caused a huge stir across social media, the airline published a message on Facebook denying any responsibility and explaining that the dog had died from suffocation.
"The dog had to be buried following her cremation on site at the Casablanca airport, according to the health procedures we have in place", adds Royal Air Maroc.
In the vain hope of justifying their behaviour, the company added that Bulldogs are brachycephalic canines, known for "cardiorespiratory weakness".
"Royal Air Maroc holds the pet owner entirely responsible for the pet's transport aboard the plane", the message concludes.
Petition calling for justice
Since the beginning of August, Emilien has been fighting heart and soul to draw attention to this scandal and stop the airline from getting away without further punishment. To this day he hasn't seen Gaby's body, nor her carrying case:
I've seen the violent way the plane luggage was thrown around. I'm not accusing anybody but I'd like to know the truth. Right now I don't know where my dog is.
Emilien and his family decided to get in contact with animal rights organisations and are planning to file a complaint.
In addition, the young man has launched a petition calling for justice which has already been signed by more than 10,000 people.