Awful New Details About The Death Of Kokito — The French Bulldog Puppy Who Died When A United Airlines Flight Attendant Forced Him Into An Overhead Bin

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French bulldog puppy dies on United Airlines flight, put in overhead bin
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The airline claims full responsibility.

A puppy died on a United Airlines flight Monday after a flight attendant made a passenger put him in the overhead compartment.

Against the airline’s policy, a flight attendant on the flight from Houston to La Guardia told the pet’s owner, Catalina Robledo, she had to stow her 10-month-old French bulldog and his carrier in the overhead bin. 

"'It's a dog, it's a dog.' He can't breathe up there.' And she said, 'It doesn't matter, it still goes up there,” Robledo’s daughter, Sophia Ceballos, told CBS. “She felt the dog and she put him up there.”

The family of the dog, named Kokito, said he barked for two hours before going silent.

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After the over three-hour flight landed in New York, the dog was dead.

"He was a really special dog. It's just sad the way he has to, just leave," Ceballos said.

Maggie Gremminger told PEOPLE she sat near Robledo on the plane and that the family was visibly devastated at the loss of their beloved pet.

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“A stranger offered to hold her newborn while she sat on the floor, there in the airplane aisle,” Gremminger said. “She was holding her dog and rocking back and forth. Her daughter was also crying.”

Gremminger said she is heartbroken that the unnamed flight attendant didn’t listen to the Robledo’s request to keep the dog, which was in a TSA-approved pet carrier, by her side.

The pet owner was very adamant that she did not want to put the pet carrier up above,” Gremminger said. “She was saying verbally, ‘My dog is in here, no, this is my dog.’ The flight attendant, in response, really just continued to ask her to put it above because it was a hazard where it was, it was a safety emergency, someone could trip.”

According to United Airline’s pet policy, the pet carrier “must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.” It says nothing about putting an animal in the overhead compartment.

A passenger who sat behind the owner of the puppy posted about the puppy’s tragic death on Facebook.

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“However, the flight attendants of flight UA1284 felt that the innocent animal was better off crammed inside the overhead container without air and water. They INSISTED that the puppy be locked up for three hours without any kind of airflow. They assured the safety of the family's pet so wearily, the mother agreed," the person wrote. 

Although multiple passengers said they heard the owner explain to the flight attendant there was a dog in the carrier, the attendant told United Airlines she was unaware of the animal, CBS reports.

Spokesman Charlie Hobart told CNN in a statement that the flight attendant was wrong for putting a live animal in the overhead compartment.

"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," the statement reads. "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."

Spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin said that the airline has connected with the deceased puppy’s owner and offered to pay for an autopsy of the Frenchie, CNN reports.

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