A puppy died on a United Airlines flight this Tuesday, March 13, after a flight attendant forced the dog's family to leave him in the overhead bin for three hours.
RadarOnline.com has learned that the French bulldog — who belonged to a mother and her two children — was inside the woman's bag when she boarded the plane. When she sat down, she placed the dog carrier between her legs, though the flight attendant told her it had to be moved up to the overhead bin, and remain there the entire flight. The woman argued that her dog wouldn't be able to breathe, but the flight attendant insisted it would be fine.
The pup, named Kokito, cried throughout the flight, but the mother was unable to check on him until the plane landed. When she opened the bag to see how he was, the months-old pup had died, according to various reports.
Various passengers spoke to reporters about the incident, saying that they were heartbroken when they saw the dog owner and her family break down in tears after realizing their pup was gone.
The flight attendant, noticing that the dog had died, repeatedly told the owner that she didn't realize there was a dog in her bag.
"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," wrote passenger June Lara on Facebook after the incident.
"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," she continued.
"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," added Lara. "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."
Another passenger, Maggie Gremminger told CrimeOnline that she found it odd when the flight attendant requested the puppy be put in the overhead bin, and she felt "uncomfortable" when the owner reluctantly agreed.
The pup owner herself spoke to Telemundo about the incident, saying that as soon as she obeyed the flight attendant's orders to store Papacito away, she was scared he would die.
Since the tragedy, United Airlines has faced much backlash from angry travelers and animal lovers — they eventually released a statement, admitting their mistake.
"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," the airline said in their statement. "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."
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