Summary: United Airlines has announced they are banning several breeds of dogs on their airplanes, starting in June.
In March, United Airlines was pawed with a dogpile of bad publicity when the public learned a Dog died mid-flight while trapped inside an overhead bin. The debacle sparked a debate about animal cruelty and who was in the wrong–the United employee or the passenger?
Regardless of the answer, United claimed full responsibility, according to Fox News, and now the family of the dead dog is considering filing a lawsuit.
The passenger, Catalina Robledo, was on a United flight from Houston to New York, and she was traveling with a French bulldog puppy, Kokito. Robledo had a carrier that was under her seat, but her flight attendant told her that the dog needed to be put in an overhead bin.
Robledo complied and put her dog into the overhead bin, where witnesses claimed that the dog whined for help until it died. A necropsy revealed that Kokito had suffocated to death.
Passengers, crew, and Robledo reportedly did not help the dog when it was crying.
Following the death, United CEO Oscar Nunez said that the company would train employees to help with safety, and on Tuesday, the airline unveiled a drastic plan to ban almost all dogs “out of concern for adverse health risks.”
In addition to the threat of a pending lawsuit from Robledo, the company is currently under criminal investigation in New York and Texas for animal cruelty. Because of the high stakes of transporting animals, United has decided to be stricter with its pet policy. Starting June 18, United will ban up to 40 breeds of dogs and certain cats from being allowed on board, according to NPR. Other species will not be allowed either.
“Effective June 18, some short-nosed or snub-nosed dogs, including pugs, Boston terriers and French bulldogs — the breed of the dog that died in March — won’t be allowed to fly in the plane’s lower compartment. Bigger, strong-jawed dogs have also been added to the no-fly list. That includes the American pitbull; the Dogue de Bordeaux, one of 16 types of mastiffs; and the Belgian Malinois,” NPR said. “Persian, Himalayan, Burmese and exotic shorthair cats will also be forbidden in the cargo area.”
United said that the new policy will ensure the safety of animals, and it came up with the new policy with American Humane.
“Certain breeds have unique respiratory challenges due to the anatomy of their noses and throats, and are more prone to risk when under stress or exposed to other environmental changes,” United Airlines said to NPR. “American Humane will be performing a top-to-bottom examination of every aspect of air travel affecting the health and welfare of animals, and making recommendations for changes and adjustments to United’s service.”
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