A tearful little 11-year-old child named Sophia Caballos told her story early Wednesday morning about her now dead dog who passed away on Monday, after a United Airlines flight attendant forced the family to put their ten-month-old French bulldog in an overhead compartment while traveling home from Texas to New York City.
“He was a member of our family,” Sophia stated on Good Morning America. “He was like my brother to me.”
And here’s some more detail about the tragic death of the family’s dog name Kokito. According to People, Sophia, her mother Catalina Robledo and her two-month-old brother had been returning home with their dog. Sophia was having trouble stowing the dog, who had been in his approved pet carrier, under the seat. When the flight attendant came by, she told them they had to put him up in the overhead bin. The family had paid $125 for their non-service pet to travel with them.
“You have to put him up there because it’s going to block the path the attendant stated. And we’re like, ‘it’s a dog, it’s a dog,’ and the attendant said it didn’t matter,” Sophia recalled.
She then helped Sophia put the dog in the overhead bin and shut the door as if Kokito was just a bag. And even though he barked supposedly for two hours, the dog stayed in the bin until the flight landed.
The following explanation from an eye witness may explain what so many animal advocates have been questioning. Passenger Maggie Gremminger witnessed the entire situation and stated she had been “stunned” to see the dog being stowed in the upper bin but understood why the family followed the flight attendant’s instructions.
“My only thought is that if it had been me, it would have been a hard scenario. The flight attendant is the authority figure, who should be trusted. I was thinking ‘maybe there is an improved ventilation system’ or something of the sorts,” Maggie told People in an interview last night.
“Also the owner had an infant and other daughter. Causing a scene before flight could risk being kicked off the flight. I can only imagine she felt stuck in her decision to comply.”
Kokito remained in the compartment for the entire three-and-a-half hour flight, and when the flight hit turbulence, everyone was required to stay in their seats. It wasn’t until the plane landed that the dog was found dead.
“We tried, but there was a lot of turbulence. And we weren’t allowed to stand up,” Sophia said. “My mom couldn’t get up; she had the baby on her lap.”
One can only imagine how devastated Sophia had been as her mother tried to stimulate the puppy to make him breathe. A fellow passenger offered to hold the woman’s infant while she desperately hoped her puppy could be resuscitated.
Who can even imagine how this puppy suffered? Pitch black with no air circulation at all. He was scared; his heart rate increased and he had trouble breathing. The breed’s flat face made it even more difficult for him to breathe. He barked and he barked, and no one could help him.
United has assumed full responsibility for the death of the puppy and are investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again. The flight attendant has stated she had no idea a dog was in the bag. She has been described as distraught.
Rest in peace Kokito.
Read prior account here.
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