US Senators File WOOFF Act After United Dog Death

Following the death of a dog on a United Airlines flight, two U.S. Senators have filed the WOOFF Act to help protect furry friends traveling on planes.

On Thursday, March 15, Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy and Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto filed the Welfare Of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act to prohibit putting animals in overhead bins during flights, CNN reports. The act would also direct the Federal Aviation Administration to establish fines for putting animals in overhead bins.

“I don't particularly enjoy having to legislate, or trying to legislate, common decency," Kennedy said. "But by God, I'm going to do it until they take this seriously."

The filing of the bill comes just days after a 10-month-old French bulldog puppy named Kokito died while traveling from Houston, Texas to New York on a United Airlines flight.

Cataline Robledo and her 11-year-old daughter and 2-month-old son brought their family dog onto a flight from Houston to New York in a pet carrier. Robledo initially stored the carrier under the seat in front of her but was later told by a flight attendant to move it, with Kokito inside, to the overhead bin. Robledo resisted the direction but ultimately followed the flight attendant's instruction. When the flight landed, the family discovered that Kokito had died.

The puppy’s death has prompted swift backlash, with the Department of Transportation launching a federal investigation. The airline has since announced that it will be changing its pet policy.

Days later, Irgo, a 10-year-old German Shepherd bound for Wichita, Kansas found himself in Japan after United Airlines placed the dog on the wrong flight. The dog’s owner, Kara Swindle, arrived at a United Airlines cargo facility after her plane landed safely in Kansas to discover that her dog was not there. Hours later, she learned that he had been flown to Japan, a 16-hour journey without food, water, or medicine to treat an ear infection he was suffering from.

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Once located, Irgo was examined by a vet in Japan and is set to be flown by private charter from Narita, Japan to Wichita, Kansas on Thursday.

According to Department of Transportation, United has the highest rate of incidents involving loss, injury or death of animals during air transportation — 2.24 per every 10,000 animals transported.