Family Considers Suing United Airlines After Puppy Suffocated In Overhead Bins

United Airlines apologized over the death of a puppy. Reuters

A family whose dog suffocated on a United Airlines flight is considering bringing a lawsuit against the airline over the incident, a lawyer for the family told TMZ.

The Robledo family, who were traveling from Houston to New York in March, says they were told to put their French bulldog puppy Kokito in one of the overhead bins despite having a suitable dog carrier.

And despite the dog barking for several hours during the flight, the family say they were prevented from checking on the animal due to turbulence. On landing at LaGuardia, the dog had died—a necropsy revealing the cause of death to be suffocation.

"The flight attendant came, she said you have to put him up there because it's going to block the path and we're like 'it's a dog, it's a dog,' but she said it doesn't matter you still have to put him up there," 11-year-old Sofia Ceballos, who was travelling with her mother Catalina Robledo, told CNN. "She just closed it like it was a bag…" she added.

The airline apologized following the incident, telling CNN: "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."

The family was refunded the price of their tickets as well as the money they paid to bring their dog onboard the plane, but Evan Oshan, the family's lawyer, said there remained unanswered questions about what happened and suggested the family was considering a lawsuit.

"The bottom line is they have not dealt with the issue at hand," Oshan told TMZ. "Which is, what are they going to do about Kokito, what are they going to do about the other 18 pets that have perished at their hands?"

The first thing that we want, is we want to know who the flight attendant is. We still don't know who she is, we haven't got an apology from her… it was her who ordered Kokito to be put in the overhead bin where there was absolutely no airflow and the dog died a horrible death, horrible."

He added that a lawsuit had been drafted and was "ready to go" but had not yet been filed.