“JUSTICE FOR KOKITO”

After a French bulldog puppy died after being stuffed in an overhead compartment on a United Airlines flight to LaGuardia Airport, the nation was outraged. Now animal lovers and legislators are demanding justice for Kokito. Evan Oshan, the attorney representing Kokito’s family, is here to talk about seeking justice for Kokito.

Aired on March 23, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> ACCORDING TO THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, IN 2017, 24 ANIMALS DIED WHILE BEING TRANSPORTED BY AIR, OF THOSE 189 -- 18 OCCURRED ON UNITED ARMIES.

AFTER THE DEATH OF THE FRENCH BULLDOG COCHITO WHO WAS FORCED INTO AN OVERHEAD BIN JUST BEFORE A FLIGHT, UNITED AS TAKEN RESPONSIBILITY AND AS ANNOUNCED MEASURES TO KEEP SUCH DEATHS FROM HAPPENING IN THE FUTURE.

BUT WHATEVER UNITED DECIDES TO DO OR NOT DO REGARDING IT'S TREATMENT OF ANIMALS, PET LOVERS EVERYWHERE ARE ASKING, HOW COULD THIS EVER HAVE HAPPENED AND HOW CAN WE MAKE SURE THAT THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN TO ANY ANIMAL ON ANY AIRLINE.

AND JOINING US NOW IS THE ATTORNEY OF THE FAMILY WHO OWNED COCHITO.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

LET'S GET TO THE PARTICULARS OF THE CASE.

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR CLIENTS, WHEN THEY GOT ON BOARD THE UNITED FLIGHT FROM HOUSTON TO NEW YORK WITH COCHITO?

CATALINA, SOPHIA, A SMALL INFANT AND COCHITO IN A TSA APPROVED BAG BOARDED A FLIGHT FROM HOUSTON TO NEW YORK AND WERE SEATED.

AFTER THEY WERE SEATED, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT CAME BY AND ORDERED CATALINA TO REMOVE THE BAG FROM THE SPACE IN FRONT OF HER AND PUT IT IN THE OVERHEAD BIN.

NOW, SEE, THAT'S A POINT OF DISPUTE, BECAUSE THE ATTENDANT SAYS THAT THE BAG THAT COCHITO WAS IN, WAS IMPEDING THE AISLE.

BUT ACCORDING TO UNITED AIRLINES GUIDELINES, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO PUT IT UNDERNEATH THE SEAT IN FRONT OF YOU.

ARE YOU SAYING THAT'S WHAT CAT L CATALINA DID?

THE BAG THAT COCHITO WAS IN, WAS NOT IMPEDING THE AISLE.

AND THE DOG WAS BARKING AND MOVING AROUND AND IT WAS VERY OBVIOUS THAT THERE WAS A DOG IN THE BAG.

WE'LL GET TO THAT IN A SECOND.

BUT ACCORDING TO THE PASSENGERS THAT WITNESSED THE INCIDENT, CATALINA ARGUED WITH THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.

BUT SHE AND HER FAMILY WERE THREATENED BY THE ATTENDANT?

YOU KNOW THAT THERE'S A VERY SEVERE PENALTY FOR NOT FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS AND THERE COULD BE A $250 FINE AND 20 YEARS IN JAIL.

SHE WAS JUST FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT, IN FACT SHE WAS BULLIED.

SHE WAS TOLD SHE WOULD BE PULLED OFF OF THE FLIGHT IF THEY DIDN'T DO THIS?

I CAN'T TELL YOU THAT, BUT I CAN TELL YOU SHE WAS BULLIED AND SHE WAS ORDERED TO MOVE.

UNITED AIRLINES HAS TAKEN FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENED AND THEY HAVE AGREED TO REFUND THE TICKETS FOR CATALINA, SOPHIA AND THE FEE FOR COCHITO, AND THEY HAVE TAKEN OTHER MEASURES FOR STOPPING DOGS IN THE CARGO AREA, AND THEY'RE NOW INSTRUCTING ALL BAGS BE CLEARLY MARKED TO HAVE DOGS IN IT.

IS THAT SUFFICIENT TO MAKE YOUR FAMILY WHOLE?

I THINK THAT'S GREAT THAT UNITED IS TAKING ALL THESE MEASURES AFTER THE EXACT.

HOWEVER THEY HAVE NOT REVEALED THE NAME OF THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT.

AND I DON'T KNOW WHY.

SO YOU DON'T KNOW IT EITHER?

WE DON'T KNOW IT, NOBODY KNOWS IT.

AND SHE HAS NOT EVEN APOLOGIZED.

I APPRECIATE UNITED COMING OUT AND APOLOGIZING AND ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY, WHICH THEY SHOULD DO.

BUT THERE'S NO ACCOUNTABILITY HERE AND WE NEED ACCOUNTABILITY.

YOU SAID SHE SHOULD BE CRIMINALLY CHARGED.

CHARGED FOR WHAT?

FOR SURE THERE'S A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION GOING ON.

THERE WAS A VERY EXTENSIVE INTERVIEW THAT WAS CONDUCTED YESTERDAY WITH THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, THEY'RE LOOKING AT ANIMAL CRUELTY AND OTHER CRIMINAL ISSUES.

I CAN'T GO INTO ANY MORE DETAIL ABOUT THAT, I DON'T WANT TO IMPEDE IN THEIR INVESTIGATION.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR YOUR CLIENTS?

WELL, FIRST, AND FOREMOST, WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR IS ACCOUNTABILITY.

THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT NEEDS TO COME FORWARD, WE NEED TO KNOW WHO SHE IS.

WE NEED TO HAVE THAT TAKEN CARE OF.

THEN THERE NEEDS TO BE JUSTICE FOR COCHITO.

AND I THINK SENATOR KENNEDY AND SENATOR ALCATERA HERE IN NEW YORK ARE WORKING ON SOME GREAT LEGISLATION, AND I APPLAUD THAT.

THEY HAVE BROUGHT UP COCHITO'S LAWS.

AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO CALL ON PRESIDENT TRUMP IN HIS HOMELAND TO COME OUT AND HELP OUT WITH THIS LEGISLATION.

THAT'S REALLY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW.

SO TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THE FAMILY IS DOING.

SOPHIA IS AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND SHE WITNESSED ALL THIS.

AND THE MOTHER WAS DISTRAUGHT, SHE WAS THE ONE WHO TRIED TO REVIVE THE LITTLE DOG.

IT SOPHIA IS COMPLETELY DEVASTATED, SHE'S HAVING A HORRIBLE TIME.

SHE'S ABSOLUTELY DEVASTATED AND SHE KEEPS RELIVING THIS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

AND THE MOM THE SAME AND THE DAD.

EVERYBODY ON THAT FLIGHT WAS TRAUMATIZED, THIS WAS AN ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENED.

THIS WAS VERY UNBELIEVABLE TRAGEDY THAT HAPPENED TO THIS FAMILY.

AND WE'LL LIKE TO SEE HOW IT PROGRESSES.

WELL, THANK YOU.

©2021 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489