The family of a puppy that died in the overhead bin of a passenger jet Monday is grieving and speaking out about their ordeal.
Kokito, a 10-month-old French bulldog, was in its traveling case and stored underneath a seat on a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York City.
A flight attendant ordered the dog’s owner to place the animal in the overhead bin, according to the pup’s owners and other passengers aboard the plane.
“I said it’s a dog, it’s a dog, it can’t breathe there,” 11-year-old Sophia Ceballos said Wednesday on CBS This Morning. “It doesn’t matter. She felt the dog and she put him up there.”
Other passengers took to social media to criticize the flight attendant and the airline, which took full responsibility for the pet’s death.
“I witnessed a United Airlines flight attendant instruct a passenger to put her dog in the overhead bin,” wrote one poster. “It was clearly a dog and while the customer was adamant about leaving it under the seat, the attendant pushed her to do so.”
Kokito could be heard barking and yelping in the bin, but after about an hour, he went silent.
“We tried to check on him, but there was a lot of turbulence,” Ceballos said.
Veterinarian Jeff Werber has three French bulldogs.
“This breed of dog has problems breathing,” Werber said. Kokito likely suffocated in the bin, where there is only a limited amount of air when closed.
In a statement, United called the incident “a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”