May 03–The death of a 10-month-old puppy on a United Airlines flight March 12 was caused by suffocation, according to a new report.
The cause of death was detailed in a necropsy from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., ABC 7 reported.
The death of the frenchie, Kokito, captured headlines around the globe after its owner was told by a flight attendant at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport to put the dog and its carrier in an overhead bin. By the time the plane landed at New York’s LaGuardia, the puppy was dead.
"He was smart, intelligent," owner 11-year-old Sophia Ceballos told ABC 7. "He was one of a kind."
The airline claimed that while the passenger told the flight attendant there was a dog in her carrier, "our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin."
"We have spoken to the family, our crew and a number of passengers who were seated nearby," the airlines said in a statement March 14. "As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident. We remain in contact with the family to express our condolences and offer support."
United refunded the family’s money for their tickets and in-cabin pet fee. The airline also altered its pet policy starting in April. United will start issuing brightly colored bag tags to customers traveling with in-cabin pets.
The dog’s family is now considering a lawsuit against the airlines, ABC 7 added.
Fernando Alfonso III is a digital reporter at Chron.com. Follow him on Twitter at @fernalfonso.
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