The U.S. Department of Transportation has stepped in on the controversial issue of the dog that died aboard a United Airlines flight after the crew insisted that the animal be placed inside the overhead bin through-out the duration of the almost four-hour air travel. The department said it was examining the events that led to the poor French bulldog’s death.
U.S. Senator John Kennedy also took to Twitter to announce that he will file a bill on Thursday that would prevent airlines from placing animals in overhead bins. Kennedy wrote: “Violators will face significant fines. Pets are family.”
The senator also wrote a letter to United Airlines President Scott Kirby demanding information on the high number of animals that have died in the carrier’s care. The Transportation Department said that of the 24 animals that died on U.S. carriers last year, 18 were on United Airlines.
The Department of Transportation is looking into circumstances surrounding the dog’s death, and is already in contact with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency tasked to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and handles complaints about alleged animal mistreatment.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also looking into the unfortunate incident and vowed to also “review the airline’s investigation.”
The dog’s owners have spoken and said they were heartbroken about their family pet’s death aboard their United Airlines flight. They also said the controversial airline is lying about the circumstances that led to the dog’s death.
11-year-old Sophia Ceballo, who traveled with her mom, a baby sister and the dog named Kokito, recalled how she reacted when the flight attendant ordered them to place the dog carrier in the overhead bin claiming that the carrier was blocking the aisle. The young girl said: “I was like, ‘It’s a dog, it’s a dog. He can’t breathe there.”
Ceballo said the flight attendant appeared to be nonchalant about the whole matter and insisted that the dog be placed inside the overhead bin. Ceballo even quoted her as saying “It doesn’t matter” when she explained that a dog was inside the carrier.
United Airlines after earlier apologizing for the incident is now claiming that their flight attendant involved “either did not hear or did not understand that there was a pet in the bag, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin.”
The family says it is clearly a lie. Ceballo said: “We told her it was a dog, she’s lying.”
The family said their dog was even barking for two hours during the flight, and that they attempted to alert the crew about the severity of the situation but they were simply ignored. The mother, Catalina Robledo, was then holding her baby in her arms and could not stand up to check. Her other companion aside from the baby is also still a child.
Robledo tried to desperately resuscitate the dog when the plane landed and they discovered him not breathing anymore, but it already proved too late. The dog was dead.
The mother said: ‘’I paid to bring him on the plane, not so they could put him in a bag to suffocate him.”