Lawmakers are raising concerns over a controversial helicopter-tour company's decision to allow dogs to accompany passengers along "doors off" rides over Manhattan.
The company, FlyNYON, reportedly teamed up with pet-rescue operation Pilots N Paws to offer discount rates for tours that let dogs fly around the city in choppers with the doors off.
Some of the revenue is supposed to go to a nonprofit that helps rescue animals in disaster zones. Such teams are currently in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian's wrath unleashed upon the island chain over Labor Day weekend.
The company already faces serious concerns over its open-door tours after one crashed in the East River last year, killing all five passengers and sparking an ongoing federal investigation and wrongful death litigation.
"This has gone too far. After the tragedy in the East River in 2018, we don't want it to be repeated again," New York Sen. Chuck Schumer slammed the promotion during a press conference on Sunday. "That's disgraceful — it's dangerous. Dogs have had no say. When people go on these, they have a say, but dogs have had no say, and that makes it worse."
Schumer was joined by representatives from PETA and the National Humane Society, as well as New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, at the 34th Street Heliport to call on the Federal Aviation Administration to order FlyNYON to cease the practice.
"We want them to take action now on this loophole that ultimately allows an amateur, not a professional photographer, not a news station, to ultimately hang off the side of a helicopter in an open seat capacity and create a risk to their lives," Menendez said.
The company, however, insisted that it is "fully compliant" with FAA operating and safety standards.
"The facts are simple. Today, we are focused on raising money to help these animals and their human partners that are on the front line of supporting recovery efforts like those of Hurricane Dorian, not trying to score political points," FlyNYON responded to the outrage in a statement.