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- Sen. John Kennedy inquired with United Airlines President Scott Kirby over the rate of animal deaths aboard their airplanes.
- According to the Department of Transportation, 18 of the 24 reported animal deaths aboard major US airlines last year were in the care of United.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana sent a letter to United Airlines President Scott Kirby on Wednesday, probing the circumstances of the death of onboard animals.
Kennedy, a Republican, noted the recent death of a French bulldog, which a United employee forced to be stowed in the overhead luggage bin, resulting in the dog’s death during the flight.
“I write to demand an immediate explanation for the number of animals who have died recently in United Airlines’ care,” Kennedy wrote. “The most recent death involved a French bulldog who was placed in an overhead bin at a United flight attendant’s direction. The animal subsequently died.”
Kennedy also cited Department of Transportation statistics, specifically that of the 24 deaths among animals in the care of “major U.S. airlines,” 18 of them were on United flights. Airlines Delta and American each reported two deaths.
“This pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable,” Kennedy added. “For many people, pets are members of the family. They should not be treated like insignificant cargo. Frankly, they shouldn’t be placed in the cargo hold much less an overhead bin.”
Kennedy’s letter comes after the incident involving the French bulldog, for which United apologized in a statement.
“This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin,” the statement read. “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.”