According to KCTV in Kansas City, Missouri, a family moving from OR to Wichita paid to have their dog, Irgo, shipped as cargo on a United flight. Instead of their dog, the Swindle family were handed a Great Dane who was scheduled to fly to Japan.
"I just want to know where my dog is", Swindle told KCTV.
The "fit and healthy" giant rabbit was expected to outgrow the world's biggest rabbit, died in cargo hold of a United Airlines flight from Heathrow Airport to Chicago on April 19, its owner, Annette Edwards, said. According to the matriarch, the airline didn't know how the switch occurred, but alleged that the two kennels looked alike.
When the family landed, they found the dog, named Kokito, dead in its crate. The great Dane, not Irgo, was supposed to end up in Japan. But she quickly began to suspect there had been a awful mistake - when an airline employee said something to her about a "beautiful Great Dane" waiting for her. "The fact that we don't have any idea is the most frustrating part". There is a chance that Irgo may need to be quarantined for up to two weeks in Japan due to traveling on an global flight.
They say the dog was staying at a pet hotel in Denver, but instead of being placed on a plane to Kansas City, he was shipped all the way to Nagano, Japan.
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Joseph and Kara Swindle, along with their two young children, were flying from OR to Kansas City Tuesday so they could sign the paperwork for their new house in Wichita, Kansas, the next morning.
"At this point, all I can do is be hopeful that my dog is going to be okay and return safely", she says.
Swindle said Irgo - who was flying for the first time - had no water or food on the 16-plus hours flight to Japan. "I've cried too much". United gave a statement to KCTV-5. We have notified our costumers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. "We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened". The flight attendant reportedly told witnesses later that she did not realize there was a dog in the bag.
United has a higher rate of pet deaths over the past three years than any other airline, CNN reports.
United's apology for this mistake comes after the tragic death of another dog on a flight from Houston to New York Monday.