Dubai: A 69-year-old Briton, whose cat got lost after it was booked on a Dubai flight to London in July, is back from the UK to launch a concerted search for the pet. Ian Lees, who arrived in Dubai in the wee hours of Monday, told XPRESS, “I am back because I am convinced Dinky escaped from his carrier before he boarded that flight in Dubai.”
On August 9, XPRESS reported the bizarre case of the cat’s disappearance when Lees and his 65-year-old wife Susan, Dubai residents for five years, were returning to the UK for good on July 27. They were booked on Emirates flight EK 011 along with their two pet cats Dinky and Cleo.
“We were earlier given the impression that Dinky definitely got to Gatwick. So we concentrated on looking around London. We had volunteers posting leaflets and posters for us. I was even allowed to go airside and take a look. But all I could get is the empty carrier back from animal reception at Gatwick,” said Lees.
He said a look at the carrier indicated that Dinky would not have been inside the enclosure for more than two-three hours.
“The bedding was intact, there was no mess inside. And without being a detective, I could see that the carrier had not been used by a cat for 12 hours. Dinky must have escaped in Dubai itself before the flight took off.”
Spreading the word
Lees said his Dubai-based daughter Donna Louise Bailey had made posters and leaflets and put them up in areas around Mizhar and Garhoud, besides spreading the word about Dinky’s escape on community websites.
“We have also announced a reward of Dh2,500 for anyone who finds Dinky for us,” he said.
“Life has been terrible without Dinky. My wife and I are worried about him. We come from a nation of animal lovers and we are committed to our pets which are like family. We can only pray and hope we find Dinky,” said Lees.
Donna said, “My father was so distressed about the whole situation that he just had to come back. He has lost weight and is now on medication for hypertension.”
To a query by XPRESS, an Emirates SkyCargo spokesperson said: “Emirates SkyCargo can confirm that a pet cat scheduled to travel on EK 011 to London Gatwick on July 27 was loaded in its cage into the cargo hold of the aircraft after mandatory checks and inspections in conformance with regulations concerning the transport of live animals. On arrival at London Gatwick, the cat was missing from its cage. During inspection it was found that one of the hinges of the cage was loose and that the door of the cage was slightly ajar.
A thorough search of the cargo hold of the aircraft was conducted both at London Gatwick and at Dubai when the aircraft returned. Despite the best efforts of staff at the airports, the cat could not be found. Emirates SkyCargo has been in contact with the owners and we are extending all possible support.”