Legislators Introduce the 'WOOFF Act' to Protect Pets During Air Travel

Two senators are taking action after the tragic death of a dog that was placed in an overhead bin on a United Airlines flight.

Republican Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) and Democrat Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced the Welfare of Our Furry Friends (WOOFF) Act in mid-March. The bill prohibits pets from traveling in overhead compartments, and requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish regulations and penalties for anyone found in violation of the rule.

"Too many animals have died as a result of human neglect and carelessness. Our WOOFF Act is designed to protect the wellbeing of our beloved family members - our pets - when traveling," Cortez Masto tweeted.

A spokeswoman for United Airlines apologized for the "tragic accident" on a United flight that resulted in the death of the French Bulldog put in the overhead bin by the flight attendant. She also said the airline is thoroughly investigating the matter.

"This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin...We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again," the spokeswoman said.

dog in carrier

Unfortunately, this is not the first time United has had pet-related troubles. In fact, it has a very poor track record on animal safety. According to data from the Department of Transportation, United had the highest numbers of pet deaths among U.S. airlines in 2016 and 2017.  In 2017 alone, United transported 138,178 animals, 18 of which died, and 13 of which were injured.

"This pattern of animal deaths and injuries is simply inexcusable," said Kennedy, who wrote to United demanding an immediate explanation for the high numbers of pet deaths.

"I don't particularly enjoy having to legislate, or trying to legislate, common decency. But by God, I'm going to do it until they take this seriously," Kennedy said in an interview with CNN's "New Day."

What do you think of these determined lawmakers and the Furry Friends Act? Let us know in the comments section!

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