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Traveler faces charges after abandoning dog at airport, boarding flight

A Pennsylvania dog is getting a new lease on life after being left behind by its owner.

Allegheny County police are expected to charge a traveler for animal abandonment. The passenger allegedly left their dog behind at the Pittsburgh International Airport’s short-term parking.

Police responded to a call early Friday morning that a male dog “was found unattended in a stroller,” according to a tweet by the Allegheny County Police Department.

By Pennsylvania law, it is illegal to abandon a dog. 

Using the dog’s microchip, the officers attempted but failed to contact the owner, who remains unidentified.

County police Sgt. Jason Donaldson told ABC News that the owner tried to fly with the dog as an emotional support animal. 

An investigation by officers revealed that after airline officials told the owner the dog couldn’t fly without a crate, the owner left the dog in the airport and boarded their flight.  

An ACPD spokesperson told USA TODAY that the owner was traveling to a resort destination. 

The dog is going to be turned over to the state dog warden. The animal is doing OK and in the care of rescue shelter the Animal Friends of Pittsburgh, the spokesperson said. 

In January, a New Jersey man left his dog tied up outside of the Des Moines International Airport when he was told he couldn’t fly with the dog without a kennel. He continued to board his flight and was charged with a misdemeanor. The dog has since been adopted by another family. 

A woman left her dog near the parking lot when on her way to a resort destination.

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Hawaii. You can reach her at

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