Donovan, Cohen Introduce Bipartisan Bill Banning Pets from Overhead Compartments

March 15, 2018
Press Release
Measure is in response to a dog's death on a United Airlines flight

Washington, DC – March 15, 2018….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today introduced legislation banning dogs from overhead compartments after Kokito, a French bulldog, died on a United Airlines flight. Kokito’s owner says a flight attendant required her to put her 10-month old dog in the overhead compartment and he did not survive the flight. Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) is the lead Democratic cosponsor on the legislation.

Congressman Donovan said, “It should be plain common sense that a live animal doesn’t belong in a cramped, dark, and poorly ventilated overhead compartment. Unfortunately, United Airlines doesn’t seem to get that, so I introduced legislation to ban the practice. Hopefully this stops other dogs from meeting the same fate as Kokito.”

Congressman Cohen said, “Dogs, cats, and other animals should never be placed in overhead bins on aircraft. Often times these animals are considered members of one’s family and to jeopardize their health, safety, and ultimately their lives should be prohibited. It is astonishing that we have to pass a law to stop this from happening, it should be common sense.”

The bill, titled the PETS (Planes Ensuring Total Safety) Act, will require the Federal Aviation Administration to ban pets from flying in overhead compartments and institute fines on airlines that fail to comply with the law. Donovan’s PETS Act already has a Senate companion, called the WOOFF Act, after Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) agreed to carry the proposal in his chamber.

Sen. Kennedy said, “Pets are members of the family. Unfortunately, for our pets, they are at the mercy of human beings showing some common sense. United Airlines is promising to put special tags on pet carriers to help flight attendants in the future. I’d rather make it the law that animals aren’t to be treated like an old piece of luggage.”

Donovan has an exemplary record in Congress on animal rights and safety. He has a 91 rating with the Humane Society in the 115th Congress and received an award from PETA for his animal welfare advocacy.