United Airlines came under fire once again this week as news broke that a 5-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lulu died in the cargo hold on a flight from Houston to San Francisco. The family of the dog said the plane was held on the tarmac for two hours August 6, on which day temperatures reached above 90 degrees in the city. In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) responded to the dog’s death.
“It’s tragic,” Daphna Nachminovitch, a PETA spokesperson, said of Lulu’s death. “Our hearts go out to the family and obviously the dog.”
Details of the dog’s cause of death remained unclear Saturday. However, Nachminovitch was quick to point to reports that named United Airlines as the most frequent offender in animal deaths on flights, which federal law requires carriers to report. Nachminovitch added, “The bottom line is that animals are not luggage, so we don’t want to see them put in cargo.”
PETA noted the importance of pet owners in educating themselves about what occurs while animals are being transported by airlines. In the case of Lulu, the Rasmussen family claimed the animal was cleared for travel by a veterinarian before the trip. But the family couldn’t have accounted for the two-hour delay on the tarmac while their flight awaited departure from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, at which time PETA said the dog should have been removed from the cargo hold.
“It’s really important for people to educate themselves on what’s happened in the past with airlines — on this dog’s tragic death, obviously, given that there was a delay,” Nachminovitch said. “The airline should have absolutely gotten the dog out of cargo without delay. A dog is not a suitcase.”
“In addition to the absolute terror of being in cargo and being handled like cargo, obviously conditions in…