HOUSTON - A family who flew from Houston to New York made a horrifying discovery when they landed Monday night after a United Airlines attendant told them to store their 10-month-old French Bulldog in the overhead bin.
The dog suffocated during the three-hour flight, and United Airlines says it takes full responsibility while it investigates the accident.
June Lara was another passenger on flight UA1284 and witnessed the incident. He posted a summary on his Facebook page saying that the flight staff "INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow." (WARNING, the link contains a picture of the deceased dog)
"They assured the safety of the family's pet so wearily, the mother agreed," Lara wrote.
United's pet policy says animals must be in a carrier that can fit underneath the seat in front of the passenger. United released a statement following the dog's death.
"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. 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," United said in a statement.
French Bulldogs are susceptible to breathing problems on flights due to the structure of their nasal passages. Many airlines do not allow brachycephalic breeds of dogs to fly due to the increased risk.