No Dog Should Die Aboard an Airline Flight

The Animal Legal Defense Fund condemns the tragic death of Kokito aboard a United Airlines flight on March 13, 2018. The 10-month-old puppy died after a flight attendant required Kokito’s guardian – traveling with an infant and older child – to violate company policy and place the flight-approved carrier in unventilated baggage storage. Kokito is one of many animals who lost their lives on United Airlines flights. Just last year, 18 animals died and 13 were injured on the airline according to the Department of Transportation.

“Kokito was unique, and he’s irreplaceable to his family. An animal is not a piece of lost luggage, and refunded tickets and fees are not appropriate compensation,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “As we mourn Kokito’s death, we urge United Airlines to truly take full responsibility by reviewing policy, retraining staff, and financially compensating the family for the full scope of their loss – including loss of a family member, emotional distress and Kokito’s intrinsic value.”

Under current laws, animals are classified as “property,” but the overwhelming majority of Americans consider their companion animals members of their family. The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s unique mission includes advancing the legal interests of animals under the law, recognizing, as science and society already do, that animals are living, sentient beings and more than mere property.