United flight delay to blame for healthy pet dog's death, family says

United Airlines is investigating after a Houston family said their healthy dog died due to a two-hour flight delay on Sunday.

According to ABC News, the five-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel died while in the cargo hold of the plane. Lulu the dog was cleared for travel by a veterinarian, the Rasmussen family added in a Facebook post.

READ MORE: How to make sure your furry friends stay safe when they travel

“We are still waiting for answers, but what we do know is that our flight was delayed on the runway in Houston,” the family wrote, explaining that they learned of the death after landing in San Francisco.

The family said they won’t press charges against the company.

Flight-1815 was held back due to weather, United said in an email statement to Global News. It added that the airline is conducting a “thorough review” of the incident.

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“We are so sorry to learn of Lulu’s passing and have reached out to our customer to offer our condolences and assistance,” the statement read.

“We are deeply upset any time an animal suffers an injury while traveling with us and especially grieved in the rare instance that one passes away.”

The air carrier has been under fire in recent months for other animal deaths as well.

In May, the owners of a giant rabbit named Simon said their pet was found dead after a United flight. A lawyer for the owners claimed the airlines destroyed the animals’ remains without permission.

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“United Airlines can issue any statement they like but their company’s credibility is under question when they immediately cremate the giant rabbit Simon without anyone’s consent,” said attorney Guy Cook at the time.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2016 Air Travel Consumer Report, United has the country’s worst record of animal deaths.

Last year, eight dogs and one cat died while in the airline’s care, and 14 others were injured.

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Travelling with pets can pose risks to their health. That’s why the Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI) released tips on how pet owners can bring their furry friends along on trips, while making sure they’re safe and comfortable.

The organization says it’s key to contact companies beforehand, and ask about the amenities and safety regulations.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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