In fact, Boris had suffered serious injuries, including shattered teeth and a broken nose, while on the loose. But when Listenik asked Delta to reimburse her for the more than $6,000 she'd spent to find Boris and have him cared for by a veterinarian, she was told that under federal regulations pets are considered cargo, and she could claim only $1,250 in compensation—the same maximum that applies to a lost suitcase. (Delta had also given her $500 to include in the $3,500 she gave as reward money.) "I couldn't believe it," says Listenik. "But the law's the law."
So Listenik has set out to change it, collecting more than 1,000 signatures for what she calls a "Boris Bill" that would amend federal flight regulations. Among its proposed provisions: removal of the limit on liability for animals and improvement of climate conditions in the hold when they are shipped. Listenik will be presenting her case to the National Bar Association in Washington, D.C., this January. Accompanying her, naturally, will be Boris. Says Listenik: "His little bark will be heard."