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GOP senator writes United demanding answers after dog death

Sen. John Kennedy is calling out United Airlines, demanding an "immediate explanation" of the death of a dog on a fli...

Posted: Mar 15, 2018 11:06 PM

Sen. John Kennedy is calling out United Airlines, demanding an "immediate explanation" of the death of a dog on a flight this week, and saying other animals have suffered while in United's care.

"For many people, pets are members of the family," Kennedy writes in a letter sent today to the president of United Airlines, J. Scott Kirby. "They should not be treated like insignificant cargo. Frankly, they shouldn't be placed in the cargo hold much less an overhead bin."

The Louisiana Republican's letter was prompted by the death of a French bulldog that has captured national attention this week. On Monday, on a flight from Houston to New York, the dog's owners were told to put their pet inside an overhead bin. After the three-hour flight the dog had died.

Kennedy tweeted that he will file a bill Thursday to prohibit airlines from putting animals in overhead bins.

"I will be filing a bill tomorrow that will prohibit airlines from putting animals in overhead bins. Violators will face significant fines. Pets are family," Kennedy wrote on Twitter.

United has apologized, say they assume "full responsibility" and have launched an investigation into what happened. A spokesman for United, Charlie Hobart, told CNN a flight attendant should not have told the passenger to put the dog in the bin used for carry-on bags. CNN reached out to United about Kennedy's letter and has not yet received a response.

RELATED: How United is navigating another PR disaster

But the incident has sparked new questions about United's treatment of animals -- especially in light of a US Department of Transportation report that was released last month about the number of animals that have died in the care of US carriers.

The report found that of the 24 animals that have died 18 did so while being handled by United. And of the 15 reported injuries of animals, 13 of those occurred with United.

"This pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable," Kennedy writes. "I write to demand an immediate explanation for the number of animals who have died recently in United Airlines' care."

Kennedy spoke to reporters about his letter Wednesday, saying he was trying to be fair to the company but he'd run out of patience over the issue.

"They have some explaining to do," Kennedy said. "I mean there are days up here on Capitol Hill I love dogs better than people. This isn't something to joke about. What happened to this pet was disgraceful. I can't imagine how the pet's owner feels. But we need to get to the bottom of it. And I know we have many important things to do -- but this is important too."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 454989

Reported Deaths: 6163
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin943781502
Ramsey40624748
Dakota33540354
Anoka31357368
Washington20533237
Stearns18091190
St. Louis13970250
Scott1217799
Wright11791107
Olmsted1078075
Sherburne829669
Carver704439
Clay658884
Rice624274
Kandiyohi558072
Blue Earth548033
Crow Wing490478
Otter Tail464268
Chisago459538
Benton423688
Winona394548
Douglas379366
Nobles374647
Mower373729
Goodhue356863
Polk330760
McLeod328147
Beltrami315748
Morrison314545
Lyon305539
Becker288939
Itasca287343
Isanti285643
Carlton284043
Steele278910
Pine270315
Freeborn254123
Todd233730
Nicollet229438
Brown218034
Mille Lacs215645
Le Sueur214216
Cass210724
Meeker201333
Waseca193216
Wabasha17463
Martin171926
Roseau166417
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Fillmore12698
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Rock112012
Aitkin111433
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Murray9117
Jackson87310
Swift84518
Pope7475
Stevens7078
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Lake66315
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Wilkin6339
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Lincoln4912
Unassigned47369
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Grant4388
Norman4258
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Kittson37420
Red Lake3204
Traverse2613
Lake of the Woods1961
Cook1160

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 311430

Reported Deaths: 4433
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk46841465
Linn18065279
Scott15872172
Black Hawk14090243
Woodbury13129181
Johnson1230052
Dubuque11625159
Pottawattamie9166115
Dallas908972
Story881038
Cerro Gordo473572
Webster472477
Sioux459757
Warren459339
Clinton458168
Marshall431162
Buena Vista396330
Muscatine396178
Des Moines395143
Plymouth353270
Wapello350798
Jasper332859
Lee324632
Marion309353
Jones274950
Henry267131
Carroll258434
Bremer250148
Crawford234724
Boone222917
Washington222933
Benton213650
Mahaska197937
Jackson195032
Tama190259
Dickinson188829
Kossuth180644
Delaware176236
Clay172521
Wright167124
Fayette166024
Hamilton162330
Buchanan162224
Winneshiek160820
Harrison158562
Hardin157931
Cedar155619
Clayton153849
Butler151724
Page147115
Floyd141636
Cherokee140127
Mills138517
Lyon137533
Poweshiek135224
Hancock131924
Allamakee130930
Iowa127722
Madison123910
Calhoun12349
Grundy122628
Winnebago122229
Jefferson122125
Mitchell116837
Louisa116230
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Chickasaw113712
Appanoose112640
Sac112215
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Emmet111332
Humboldt106819
Shelby105527
Guthrie104424
Franklin103618
Unassigned10160
Palo Alto92411
Montgomery89124
Keokuk86326
Howard85919
Monroe82220
Clarke8129
Pocahontas78211
Ida76030
Davis70321
Greene6977
Adair69620
Monona68518
Lucas66710
Osceola64711
Worth6194
Taylor5999
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Van Buren50215
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Ringgold45111
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