NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Sen. Chuck Schumer and animal rights activists are slamming a helicopter company that is giving discounts to fliers who bring their dogs along for an aerial tour of the city.
Schumer hammered FlyNYON as “reckless” at a press conference Sunday, saying the company was putting the lives of dogs at risk.
“No dog’s dream is to fly 1000 feet above the ground, doors dangerously off their helicopter, strapped into an uncomfortable harness, helicopter blades whirling loudly just above,” the senator wrote on Twitter.
Schumer retweeted a promotional video from FlyNYON that was part of the tour company’s partnership with pet-rescue operation Pilots N Paws. If owners bring their dogs aboard they can get a discount of 50 percent off their tickets, according to the New York Post.
FlyNYON has come under criticism from Schumer for using what he says is a “loophole” that allows the company to continue offering “doors-off” flights after a helicopter crash in the East River killed five people last year.
“The same company where five people died is now strapping dogs to a helicopter,” Schumer said at a press conference with Sen. Bob Menendez.
Ashley Byrne of animal rights group PETA told the Post that the canine rides are a “wretched and reckless idea from takeoff to landing,” while Brian Shapiro from the Humane Society called them “cruel and inhumane.”
In a statement, FlyNYON said it’s fully compliant with all FAA operating and safety standards and that its dog rides are for a good cause.
“The facts are simple. Today we are focused on raising money to help these animals and their human partners that are on the frontline of supporting recovery efforts like those of hurricane Dorian, not trying to score political points,” the company said in the statement.