Speed Reads

fly the furry skies

Senators introduce WOOFF Act to protect animals on planes

Two senators are reaching across the aisle to ensure pets fly safer.

Republican Sen. John Kennedy (La.) and Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.) teamed up Thursday to introduce the Welfare of Our Furry Friends Act — WOOFF for short. The bill would prohibit storing live animals in overhead airplane compartments and establish fines for violators.

It may sound like an obvious rule. But the WOOFF Act is actually a quick response to the story of a dog that died on a United Airlines flight earlier this week, after a flight attendant forced the dog's owner to place the animal and its carrier into an overhead bin. Kennedy also cited a U.S. Department of Transportation report showing that of the 24 animal deaths that occurred on major airlines in 2017, 18 happened on United flights.

United accepted responsibility for the incident, saying it'll introduce new colored tags to clearly identify bags containing animals. The late dog's owner has said she repeatedly told the flight attendant there was a dog in the carrier.

Nevertheless, the airline was in the doghouse yet again Wednesday as it sent two furry passengers to the wrong locations. The owners of a German Shepherd went to pick up their pet in Kansas City, Missouri, but were given a Great Dane instead, The Guardian reports. Their dog was sent to Japan, where the Great Dane was supposed to go.