Texas prosecutors are mulling possible criminal charges in the death of a helpless French bulldog aboard a United Airlines flight.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston wants to review the investigation into the death of Kokito, who was stuffed into an overhead bin on a flight Monday.
The puppy’s owners and passengers said they protested as a stewardess put Kokito — inside an approved carrier — into the storage area before the plane left Houston.
The ill-fated pooch barked for a decent amount of time on the four-hour flight to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, his owners have said, but no one could get to him.
“We have jurisdictional issues,” Carvana Cloud, head of the animal cruelty division for the prosecutor’s office, told local NBC affiliate KPRC.
“We don’t know if the dog died in Houston or if the dog died in New York or on the way to New York.”
Kokito’s death put United under merciless scrutiny, as reports emerged the airline mistakenly sent another family’s dog to Japan.
The fact that the dog’s death wasn’t discovered until the plane landed in New York complicates the issue, the prosecutor said.
“We are at the very preliminary stage of the investigation, but it definitely does make it more challenging because it is not something that happened in someone’s backyard here locally or in someone’s home,” Cloud told KPRC.
United, which previously took responsibility for Kokito’s death, said an investigation turned up that passengers told the flight attendant the dog was inside the carrier.
“However, our flight attendant did not hear or understand her, and did not knowingly place the dog in the overhead bin,” the airline said.