- "I don't want anybody to suffer the same thing we're suffering right now", said Sophia Robledo.
A criminal investigation has been launched into the death of a dog on a United Airlines flight from Houston, Texas to NY earlier this week, after a flight attendant ordered the animal to be stashed in an overhead compartment. While acknowledging the fact that passengers tried to tell the flight attendant a dog was in the bag, United says the crew member either "did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin".
"It's like unbelievable how he had to suffer like that", said Robledo.
How a trained flight attendant could insist that a dog be put into an overhead bin is beyond my comprehension. Both Robledo and her daughter were unable to check on the puppy's welfare during the flight due to turbulence and only discovered the dog had died on arrival in NY.
"The flight attendant demanded that no, Kokito couldn't be by her feet, that he had to go in the overhead bin", said Brayan Castano.
In response, United released a statement apologizing for the dog's death and promising an investigation.
"They showed me the kennel and the minute I said the word, 'Irgo, ' out pops this Great Dane", said Irgo's owner, Kara Swindle.
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"There's nothing that they can offer me that can bring back the dog", said Castano.
"I would've stood up and opened the bin and said, 'You know, kick me off the flight". "You're animal could be on any number of flights".
Several high-profile incidents of animal deaths and misplacements on United flights have plagued the airline over the past year, including the death of a giant rabbit on one of its flights last July and a dog that died in a plane cargo hold in August.
USA Today found that United Airlines accounted for one-third of US animal deaths aboard passenger flights during the last five years.
United Airlines says it's investigating after mistakenly flying a Kansas family's dog to Japan.
During the four-hour flight, the puppy barked for a while and then stopped. Last year, 18 animals died on board United planes, including a Flemish giant rabbit en route to Kansas City. "She was saying verbally, 'My dog is in here, no, this is my dog.' The flight attendant, in response, really just continued to ask her to put it above because it was a hazard where it was, it was a safety emergency, someone could trip". It reads: "This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin".