Pet Airline Safety with New York Senator, Beverly Hills Dog Show on WGN


On my WGN Radio Steve Dale’s Pet World radio show hear New York State Senator  Marisol Alcantara (D-Manhattan) is demanding justice for 10-month-old puppy Kokito and his family, who were forced by a United Airlines flight attendant to stow him in an overhead bin, through a criminal investigation of the airline and its flight attendant who gave the fatal instruction.

How can anyone order a passenger put a dog in the overhead bin? She wonders. America wonders too.

New York Senator Marisol Alcantara

Senator Alcantara is also writing an Animal Passenger Bill of Rights for all flights in and out of New York state. This soon-to-be introduced legislation will explicitly state that animals cannot be stowed in overhead compartments. The rights bill will also contain provisions requiring proper climate control and ventilation for animals transported in cabins separate from their owners. Airline employees, under this legislation, would have to be trained in pet safety.

United Airlines has a poor track record of keeping animals safe. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation recorded 40 injuries and pet deaths on airlines, 31 of which occurred on United. This inhumane treatment of animals, who passengers consider members of their families, is simply unacceptable.


For now, United’s solution is to  temporarily suspend their PetSafe program.

PetSafe Program or not, sometimes people simply need to fly their pets. A listener sent a text that pets should not be allowed on airplanes period. I don’t believe that is a realistic or a fair solution.

When a dog on United was mistakenly somehow sent to Japan instead of Kansas, the family was moving. They could have given up their dog. I don’t believe that giving up a family member should ever be considered because a family needs to move. They could have driven halfway across the country, I suppose. But what about moving internationally? Shouldn’t there be a way people could simply and safely travel with a pet? And when the pet is small enough to travel in the cabin, certainly nothing should happen.

I believe there are two basic issues at the core of this. In truth, the airlines lose more luggage than they do pets. So, should it be a surprise that they also “lose” pets? Perhaps the industry ought to look at their systems introspectively. Most businesses would not be allowed to “get away with” what the airlines have been routinely getting away with for years. Their explanation is that they handle millions of pieces of luggage and only a small percent are lost. I suppose that’s true, but is that excusable? And it’s not only about luggage. It’s about ticket mix-ups, etc. That brings up the second issue: When there is a mix-up or a problem, people can speak up. But our pets can’t speak for themselves. And, technically pets are treated as property.

Also, it’s clear that systems regarding third-party vendors and understanding pets’ needs (not to mention downright empathy) need to be addressed.

I called for United Airlines to create an expert task force to help advise them on this issue. And, while United has been in the news lately, this issue doesn’t solely fall on the wings of one airline—the problem is industry-wide. In part, United gets hit more because they fly more pets. No matter, it’s not excusable. The airlines must find a way for pets to fly safely in cabin and in cargo.

Here are airline animal incidents:

It’s exciting the swanky Beverly Hills Dog Show presented by Purina happens on Easter Sunday, (April 1) on USA Network at 5 p.m. CDT. An encore presentation will air on NBC April 8 at 12 p.m. CDT.

The show will bring out all the stars: Many Hollywood celebs will be there, but, of course, the real stars have four legs.

Purina’s a star, too, for donating to North Shore Animal League America‘s Mutt-i-Grees programs, which support animal welfare education, helping kids learn to be kind to animals. You can help raise money for this great cause: On social media between March 26 and April 8, state why your dog is a star and include #BHDogShow, and Purina will make a contribution to Mutt-i-Grees. Now, that’s something to bark about!

If you’re into the dog show world, you’ll be impressed with the fact that nearly 1,300 dogs participate, representing about 175 breeds and varieties. Simply put, it’s a big dog show. You know it’s an important dog show, as David Frei (Mr. Dog Show) is behind the mic with John O’Hurley, actor from Seinfeld.

A texter wrote about a Shiba Inu puppy chasing two family cats, which I answer.