KRNV-TV, Reno, Nev., said Lynn Jones, who worked at the airport for independent baggage-handling firm Airport Terminal Services, said the dog about to board a plane last month appeared to be starving and was covered with scars.
She said a supervisor told her to allow the dog onto the plane and when she resisted, he told her: "You're done. Go home."
"I was crying," Jones says. "I said, 'This dog's going to die.'"
Airport Terminal Services, based in St. Louis, said in a statement on its Web site it was taking the matter "extremely seriously and commends this employee's situational awareness and her desire to raise the concern on behalf of the canine involved."
An ATS spokeswoman said the firm was reviewing the roles of all employees involved in the incident.
Jones said she returned to the airport after her firing and saw airport police and Washoe County Animal Service workers taking the dog from the airport to a veterinarian for treatment. The dog was allowed to fly three days later, authorities said.
After the incident, Jones said, her employer deactivated her security badge and refused to return her phone calls.
Airport Chief Executive Officer Krys Bart said she had received more than 250 e-mails and 100 phone calls from people demanding Jones be rehired. Bart, a member of the board of directors of the Nevada Humane Society, says she had contacted Airport Terminal Services to express concern.