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United Flies Dog To Japan By Mistake

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP/CBS) -- United Airlines says it's investigating after mistakenly flying a Kansas family's dog to Japan.

KCTV reports that Kara Swindle and her two children flew from Oregon to Kansas City, Missouri, Tuesday on a United flight.

They went to a cargo facility to pick up 10-year-old Irgo, a German shepherd, but were instead given a Great Dane.

"At this point, all I can do is be hopeful that my dog is going to return safely," Swindle said. "I don't know what else to do at this point. I can't cry anymore. I've cried too much."

Swindle, of Wichita, Kansas, learned Irgo had been put on a flight to Japan, where the Great Dane was supposed to go.

Airline officials in Japan put Irgo on a flight back to Kansas City. It isn't clear when the dog will arrive.

The news of Irgo's unplanned odyssey comes as United admits another dog died after a flight attendant forced it to travel in an overhead bin on a Houston-to-New York flight.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, three times as many pets have died on United than any other U.S. airline for the past three years.

  • United Airlines 41 pet deaths;
  • Delta Airlines 18 pet deaths;
  • American Airlines 9 pet deaths;
  • Alaska Airlines 7 pet deaths.

"United flew nearly 140,000 pets via our PetSafe program in 2017, far more than any other carrier," the airline said in a statement. "Independent medical experts determined that the overwhelming majority of the incidents, including deaths, were not  attributable to United. Additionally, in 2017 we formed a PetSafe Advisory Board, comprised of recognized veterinarians, experienced animal shippers, animal behaviorists and other experts, to make recommendations for steps we and our customers can take to enhance animal safety going forward."

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