United Airlines is facing fierce criticism following the death of a 10-month French Bulldog old puppy, after the animal was allegedly forced into an overhead bin on a three-hour flight from Houston to New York City.
A passenger aboard United Flight 1284, June Lara, said the owner of the dog was asked to place it in it’s carrier overhead shortly after boarding.
Lara posted a photo of the deceased animal through a heartbreaking post on Facebook, and the story is going viral.
The passenger, who was flying with a young girl and baby, allegedly informed the flight attendant there was a dog in the bag, according to witness’ social media posts.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Witness: Flight Attendants Felt Puppy Was ‘Better Off Crammed Inside the Overhead Container Without Air & Water
Lara posted the above photos detailing the gut-wrenching fate of the puppy, whose owner remained unnamed upon publication. Lara wrote:
Today, I boarded my first United Airlines flight.
On my way, I saw a Frenchie that looked identical to my own precious Winston. He was with his family – a young girl, no older than 8, her toddler sibling and their mother. He was meant to grow, learn, cry, play with those young children and be their furry friend. He was meant to live a long life filling that family’s days with that special joy that only a dog can bring.
I sat behind the family of three and thought myself lucky – who doesn’t when they get to sit near a puppy? However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water. They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family’s pet so wearily, the mother agreed.
There was no sound as we landed and opened his kennel. There was no movement as his family called his name. I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body. My heart broke with theirs as I realized he was gone.
The Humane Society of the U.S. says air travel can be risky for pets and especially dangerous for brachycephalic breeds — such as pugs or bulldogs, whose short nasal passages make them vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. This little guy fought hard for his life, filling our flight with his cries until he finally ran out of breath. United Airlines does not care about the safety of their furry travelers. This poor family paid $125 for their pet to be murdered in front of them. There is no excuse for the pain this family is suffering.
Today, I boarded my last United Airlines flight.
2. The Owner Was Traveling With 2 Children When the Tragedy, Which Went Against Company Policy, Occurred
“I want to help this woman and her daughter,” @MaggieGrem tweeted along with the devastating photo above. “They lost their dog because of an @united flight attendant. My heart is broken.”
Forcing the animal to ride in the overhead bin goes against United’s in-cabin pet policy, which states, in part: “A pet traveling in cabin must be carried in an approved hard-sided or soft-sided kennel. The kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.”
3. Social Posts Regarding the Incident Have Gone Viral, & the Public Is Outraged
Many have taken to social media to express their outrage towards the incident.
At the time of publishing, Lara’s post had nearly 30,000 views while the initial tweet by Maggie Gremminger had 2,850 retweets and almost 9,000 Likes.
“So what are you going to do with the flight attendant, who forced the owner to put their dog in the overhead compartment? @united,” @Jdavis19940815 tweeted.
“A dog brought on a United flight died after the flight attendant forced the family to put the animal into the overhead bin,” @ajplus tweeted. “A mom and her two children discovered their bulldog dead in its carrier after landing. It’s the latest of many pet deaths attributed to United’s practices.”
4. 75% of 2017 Airline Animal Deaths Were From United
According to data collected from the Department of Transportation, United had the most animal deaths of all U.S. airlines in 2017, which amounted to a whopping 75%.
Last year the airline had 18 deaths, which was double from nine deaths reported in 2016.
5.The Airline Is Claiming Full Responsibility
The airline has accepted full responsibility for the incident, and issued an apology to USA Today, adding that it was “thoroughly investigating” the matter.
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” United spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said in a statement to Today in the Sky. “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”