GOP senator writes United demanding answers after dog death

Sen. John Kennedy is calling out United Airlines, demanding an "immediate explanation" of the death of a dog on a fli...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 12:06 AM

Sen. John Kennedy is calling out United Airlines, demanding an "immediate explanation" of the death of a dog on a flight this week, and saying other animals have suffered while in United's care.

"For many people, pets are members of the family," Kennedy writes in a letter sent today to the president of United Airlines, J. Scott Kirby. "They should not be treated like insignificant cargo. Frankly, they shouldn't be placed in the cargo hold much less an overhead bin."

The Louisiana Republican's letter was prompted by the death of a French bulldog that has captured national attention this week. On Monday, on a flight from Houston to New York, the dog's owners were told to put their pet inside an overhead bin. After the three-hour flight the dog had died.

Kennedy tweeted that he will file a bill Thursday to prohibit airlines from putting animals in overhead bins.

"I will be filing a bill tomorrow that will prohibit airlines from putting animals in overhead bins. Violators will face significant fines. Pets are family," Kennedy wrote on Twitter.

United has apologized, say they assume "full responsibility" and have launched an investigation into what happened. A spokesman for United, Charlie Hobart, told CNN a flight attendant should not have told the passenger to put the dog in the bin used for carry-on bags. CNN reached out to United about Kennedy's letter and has not yet received a response.

RELATED: How United is navigating another PR disaster

But the incident has sparked new questions about United's treatment of animals -- especially in light of a US Department of Transportation report that was released last month about the number of animals that have died in the care of US carriers.

The report found that of the 24 animals that have died 18 did so while being handled by United. And of the 15 reported injuries of animals, 13 of those occurred with United.

"This pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable," Kennedy writes. "I write to demand an immediate explanation for the number of animals who have died recently in United Airlines' care."

Kennedy spoke to reporters about his letter Wednesday, saying he was trying to be fair to the company but he'd run out of patience over the issue.

"They have some explaining to do," Kennedy said. "I mean there are days up here on Capitol Hill I love dogs better than people. This isn't something to joke about. What happened to this pet was disgraceful. I can't imagine how the pet's owner feels. But we need to get to the bottom of it. And I know we have many important things to do -- but this is important too."

West Lafayette
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 67°
Rensselaer
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 63°
Fowler
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Danville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 72°
Delphi
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 71°
Logansport
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 64°
Very warm to hot & increasingly humid weekend...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 926604

Reported Deaths: 15083
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1262201958
Lake626901087
Allen52772747
Hamilton43283445
St. Joseph41475584
Elkhart33129488
Vanderburgh29927439
Tippecanoe26589247
Johnson23267415
Hendricks21902340
Porter21473341
Clark17150224
Madison17065379
Vigo15815273
Monroe14298190
LaPorte14108237
Delaware13771219
Howard13635262
Kosciusko11232134
Hancock10637160
Warrick10523176
Bartholomew10341167
Floyd10200202
Wayne9690218
Grant8939196
Morgan8734158
Boone8299109
Dubois7596123
Henry7469128
Dearborn745187
Noble7294101
Marshall7237128
Cass7097117
Lawrence6862150
Shelby6457107
Jackson643981
Gibson6036106
Harrison595585
Huntington591891
Montgomery5706102
DeKalb563591
Knox537599
Miami531983
Clinton527164
Putnam525367
Whitley516251
Steuben486367
Wabash477492
Jasper471961
Jefferson461991
Ripley444175
Adams439365
Daviess4064106
Scott394963
White386257
Clay382356
Greene380189
Wells379683
Decatur379595
Fayette367176
Posey354941
Jennings346356
Washington325847
LaGrange315774
Spencer313034
Fountain309753
Randolph305487
Sullivan299447
Owen279161
Starke272761
Orange272659
Fulton268851
Jay250634
Perry247451
Carroll241127
Franklin233637
Vermillion229750
Rush228930
Parke215220
Tipton206754
Pike202538
Blackford165634
Pulaski158751
Crawford142818
Newton140742
Benton139816
Brown132646
Martin126916
Switzerland123510
Warren113416
Union93511
Ohio77211
Unassigned0468

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events