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Dog Dies After United Airlines Flight Attendant Insists It Be Placed in Overhead Bin

United Airlines assumed responsibility for the incident and is currently investigating.
United Airlines assumed responsibility for the incident and is currently investigating.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A dog died on a United Airlines flight on Monday night after a flight attendant told the owner to place it in an overhead bin.

Maggie Gremminger, a passenger on the flight from Houston to LaGuardia, wrote on Facebook and Twitter that the owner wanted to leave her dog in its carrier under her seat, but the attendant insisted she put it overhead. The dog had been barking during the flight but had died by the end of the flight. When the owner discovered that her dog was unresponsive, she reportedly broke down “crying in the airplane aisle on the floor.” Another passenger named June Lara wrote on Facebook, “I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy.”

United Airlines told ABC in a statement, “This was a tragic accident that should have never 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.”

The transportation of pets and emotional support animals on commercial flights has been a contentious issue. Another dog allegedly died while in the cargo hold of a delayed United Airlines flight in August. A student also claimed in February that a Spirit Airlines representative told her to kill her hamster because she couldn’t take it on board, and United Airlines refused in January to allow a women to bring her peacock with her on a flight. United Airlines employees have also come under fire for coercive behavior in the past, particularly when they dragged a man off of a flight last year.

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Aaron Mak is a Slate editorial assistant.