Criminal charges considered in New York, Texas after death of dog on a United Airlines flight

Prosecutors in Queens and Harris County are reviewing the case.

March 15, 2018, 2:16 PM

Prosecutors in two states are reviewing the death of a dog on a United Airlines flight to see whether animal cruelty charges are warranted.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, where the flight originated, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office in New York, where it landed, are examining the incident and whether they have jurisdiction.

PHOTO: United Airlines jets sit at gates at O'Hare International Airport, Sept. 19, 2014, in Chicago.
United Airlines jets sit at gates at O'Hare International Airport, Sept. 19, 2014, in Chicago.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

“We are currently reviewing the facts to determine if there is a prosecutable case,” a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

In Texas, the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce is investigating, said Carvana Cloud of the district attorney’s office.

“We’ll review the evidence and apply the law,” Cloud said.

PHOTO: Kokito, pictured in an undated handout photo, died on a United Airlines flight on March 12, 2018, after being placed in an overhead bin.
Kokito, pictured in an undated handout photo, died on a United Airlines flight on March 12, 2018, after being placed in an overhead bin.
Courtesy Castano Family

The district attorneys offices are weighing charges after a dog named Kokito died in an overhead bin on a flight Monday. Kokito was placed in the overhead bin after a flight told the dog's family they had to remove it from the aisle to clear the path.

United, however, says the flight attendant did not hear the passenger's warning that there was an animal in the container.

PHOTO: United Airlines jets sit on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport in New York, March 15, 2017.
United Airlines jets sit on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport in New York, March 15, 2017.
Seth Wenig/AP, FILE

"We have learned that the customer did tell the flight attendant that there was a dog in the carrier. However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin," United said in the statement. "As we stated, we take full responsibility and are deeply sorry for this tragic accident."

United said it was investigating the incident. It also said it would implement a new policy in April in which it will issue brightly-colored tags to customers traveling with animals.

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