Read the original article by Alexa Lardieri at usnews.com here.
Alcantara is writing a “uniform animal passenger bill of rights” for all New York airlines and is demanding a criminal investigation of United Airlines after the death of a French bulldog on a United flight.
According to the senator, the bill would prohibit animals from being stowed in overhead compartments and would require proper climate control and ventilation be provided for animals transported in cabins separate from their owners.
The bill comes in response to the death of 10-month-old Kokito after a flight attendant instructed its owners to stow the puppy, which was in a Transportation Security Administration-approved pet carrier in the overhead compartment during their flight from Houston to New York. The dog died during the flight.
The legislation, called Kokito’s Law, would also require airline employees to be trained in pet safety.
In a letter to United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, Alcantara wrote that she is calling on the district attorney to launch a criminal investigation into the dog’s death, proclaiming she will “do everything in my power to assist the DA in using every legal remedy available to bring justice to this family.” She also says the airline’s assertion that its flight attendant did not know an animal was in the bag is “outrageous.”
“Your airline’s contention that the flight attendant did not know there was a dog in the carrier is outrageous. The passenger and her young daughter repeatedly told the attendant about the dog. However, your attendant took no action to address their concerns or check the bag for the animal,” the letter read. “Obviously, passengers do not bring dog carriers on a plane as a carry-on item without bringing their pets. This ridiculous assertion should not, and will not hold up in criminal court.”
Alcantara, along with Kokito’s owners and other animal rights activists protested at LaGuardia Airport in New York on Sunday demanding improvements to protect pets traveling on airplanes.