- Andrew Burton/Getty Images
- Two senators introduced a bill creating new regulations for airlines after a puppy died on a United Airlines flight.
- The legislation was introduced by Republican Sen. John Kennedy and Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
- It is called Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act, or WOOFF.
A pair of senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would create new regulations prohibiting airlines from storing animals in overhead bins after a dog died on a United Airlines flight this week when it was forced into such a compartment.
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada introduced the legislation, called Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act, or WOOFF.
“Today, I introduced the Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act, also known as WOOFF, w my colleague @SenCortezMasto,” Kennedy tweeted. “Our bill directs the @FAANews to create regulations to prohibit the storing of a live animal in any overhead compartment and establish civil fines for violations #WOOFF”
Today, I introduced the Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act, also known as WOOFF, w my colleague @SenCortezMasto. Our bill directs the @FAANews to create regulations to prohibit the storing of a live animal in any overhead compartment and establish civil fines for violations #WOOFF pic.twitter.com/U3nZqLNIaH
— John Kennedy (@SenJohnKennedy) March 15, 2018
On Wednesday, Kennedy sent a letter to United Airlines President Scott Kirby following the incident. A French bulldog died after a United employee forced it to be stowed in the overhead bin. The dog died 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 cited Department of Transportation statistics, which showed that 18 of the 24 animal deaths that occurred on major US airliners occurred on United flights.
“This pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable,” Kennedy wrote. “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.”
United apologized for the incident 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.”
Joe Perticone contributed to this report.