Twitter Erupts After Dog Dies in Overhead Bin and United Admits 'Tragic Accident'

Social media has issued a cry for justice after a United Airlines flight attendant reportedly forced a family to stow their dog in an overhead bin, leading to its death during the three-hour flight.

(Photo: Castano Family)

The story first picked up steam on Facebook, where June Lara, a fellow passenger, detailed the experience. He said a mother and her two daughters were boarding the flight with their dog when a flight attendant insisted the puppy be placed in the overhead bin without air and water.

"They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow," Lara wrote. "They assured the safety of the family's pet so wearily, the mother agreed."

Lara said the puppy, named Tokito, was unresponsive after the three-hour flight.

"I held her baby as the mother attempted to resuscitate their 10 month old puppy. I cried with them three minutes later as she sobbed over his lifeless body. My heart broke with theirs as I realized he was gone," Lara wrote.

"United Airlines does not care about the safety of their furry travelers. This poor family paid $125 for their pet to be murdered in front of them. There is no excuse for the pain this family is suffering. Today, I boarded my last United Airlines flight," Lara added.

When contacted by ABC News, United assumed full responsibility. A spokesman didn't immediately say whether anyone was disciplined.

"This was a tragic accident that should have never occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," United said in the statement. "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."

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.

Lara's post drew several horrified comments, with users writing that they were disgusted and outraged by the neglect. The story also picked up steam on Twitter, where people declared the intention to boycott the airline.

"I totally expect @united to dial.up commercials, and hit all the cable news programs," wrote one user. "#Problem. This wasn't a booking issue. This wasn't kicking someone off a flight. United Airlines murdered a dog. UNITED AIRLINES MURDERED A DOG."


"[United Airlines], treating humans like dogs and now killing the dogs," wrote another.

"Dear United Airlines," wrote a concerned reader. "As a dog owner, I am heartbroken & beyond upset with the way the dog situation was handled. You have officially lost a customer. Really hope the flight attendant involved gets consequences for this. This could have been avoided."