Care2 Members Demand Justice for Lulu, the Dog Who Died in United Airline’s Cargo

Last Sunday, the Rasmussen family brought their two dogs, Lulu and Ginger, with them on a United Airlines flight from Houston to San Francisco. Five-year-old Lulu, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, had been cleared by a veterinarian days before the flight and was in perfect health, but she died in the cargo hold of the plane after it was held on the tarmac for two hours.

“We are still waiting for answers,” the family posted on Facebook. “There were significant problems with the air conditioning in the main cabin where we were sitting, so we are deeply concerned about the conditions in cargo…and worried that there was significant negligence on the part of #United Airlines.”

The airline made this statement to International Business Times: “We are so sorry to learn of Lulu’s passing and have reached out to our customer to offer our condolences and assistance. We are deeply upset any time an animal suffers an injury while traveling with us and especially grieved in the rare instance that one passes away.”

United Has Worst U.S. Record For Pet Deaths

The problem with this statement is that this occurrence is not a “rare instance,” but just the latest in a string of incidents involving the loss of pets on a United flight. As the Washington Post reports, data from the Department of Transportation says United Airlines was responsible for a third of all animal deaths on U.S. flights between January 2012 and February 2017.

In addition, according to a report from the same Department, United had more animal injuries and deaths than any other airline in 2016. Eight dogs and a Sphynx kitten lost their lives while under the airline’s care in that year and 14 pets suffered injuries. In 2015, United had 14 pet deaths and nine injuries.

Even one death is one too many, but United Airlines’ record is egregious.

Demand Justice For Lulu

Outraged by the death of yet another pet on a United flight, Kelsey B. has created a Care2 petition, demanding that the airline put policies in place for pets in cargo during delays. 

In just two days, her petition has garnered over 13,000 signatures from Care2 members.

You probably remember some of the previous pet deaths that happened on United’s watch. Back in 2012, supermodel Maggie Rizer flew two golden retrievers on a United flight from New York to San Francisco. Only one of them was alive when the plane touched down. 

Also in 2012, Michael Jarboe chose United to fly his two-year-old Neapolitan mastiff Bam Bam from Miami to San Francisco. The dog was dead on arrival.

In 2017, United has had its share of problems, including the death last April of a 10-month-old Continental Giant rabbit named Simon, who died on a flight from the U.K. to the U.S. 

Not all airlines force companion animals to be placed in cargo holds. JetBlue and Southwest are two of the airlines that prohibit pets from being flown like just another piece of checked baggage in the cargo hold.

Take Action!

It’s time for United Airlines to step up.

If you agree, please sign the Care2 petition demanding justice for Lulu by ensuring that no other animal has to suffer and die as she did, due to negligence on the part of United Airlines.


Photo Credit: Screenshot from Washington Post online video


Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

This, unfortunately, happens too often. Pets are family! I signed and shared this too, keep us posted, please. Poor family and baby Lulu :(

Margie FOURIE1 years ago


Virginia Abreu de Paula

It happens so many times. They think to send condonlences is enough. It is not. They need to see why it keeps happening. What if those dying was human beings? Woulid they only say they were sorry?

Glennis W
Glennis W1 years ago

So horrible and sickening Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W1 years ago

How very sad should never have happened Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W1 years ago

Deplorable and despicable Thank you for caring and sharing

Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga1 years ago


Sandra V
Sandra Vito1 years ago


Tanya W
Tanya W1 years ago

Thank you for sharing. Petition signed. I hope this never happens again. There should be Risk Management procedures in place to prevent this happening again. RIP little Lulu 💟