In a statement issued late Wednesday, the Harris County, Texas, district attorney's office said its animal cruelty division is working with the county's animal cruelty task force to investigate the incident that occurred on the Monday night flight.
Prosecutors said in a statement they won't decide whether or not to press charges until the investigation is completed.
A flight attendant locked a family's French Bulldog, Kokito, in an overhead compartment for a three-and-a-half hour trip from Houston, Texas to NY on Monday (12Mar18).
"I was like 'It's a dog, it's a dog".
The owners say they told the flight attendant twice that they had a dog inside the bag before they were forced to stow the bag in the overhead compartment. They say they wanted to check on him, but couldn't. "She felt the dog and she put him up there".
When United 1284 landed, the dog was dead.
"My mom was crying". Irgo is suffering from an ear infection and hasn't had medication in three days, she said.
Kennedy, in a letter to the airline on Wednesday (March 14), said United's "pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable".
The dog's owners and other passengers, however, dispute this claim and say that the dog's barks could be heard throughout from inside the bin. United declined to identify the employee.
As for the Kansas City-Japan mix-up, Swindle said she thinks United might have footage of the mistake transfer and said it doesn't know how the mix-up occurred.
The dog flew from OR to Denver, where he spent the night.
"They showed me the kennel and the minute I said the word, 'Irgo, ' out pops this Great Dane", said Irgo's owner, Kara Swindle. The spokesman said Chicago-based United offered to pay for a necropsy. They're trained to know what's safe and not safe during flight. "We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them".
According to U.S. Department of Transport data, the vast majority of animal deaths onboard American carriers previous year occurred at United.
It is rare that an animal dies on a plane.
In 2017, 24 animals died, 15 others were injured and one was lost on commercial flights, out of almost 507,000 animals that were transported, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Alaska Airlines carried nearly 115,000 animals previous year and reported just two deaths and one lost animal, the data show. Most infamously, a giant rabbit called Simon travelling from London to the Iowa State Fair died on a United flight, possibly freezing to death because it was subjected to cold temperatures or placed next to dry ice.
Senators John Kennedy, a Republican, and Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, said the legislation would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to create regulations to prohibit the storing of a live animal in any overhead compartment and to impose civil fines for violations.