Just one day after the news spread of a family dog’s death during a United Airlines flight because an attendant demanded the pet be put in an overhead compartment, the same airline is facing further criticism over a new unsettling incident.
According to KCTV5 News, the Swindle family of Wichita, Kansas, moved from Oregon on Tuesday and flew into Kansas City via United. Their dog, a 10-year-old German shepherd named Irgo moved with them, but he had to fly in a kennel in a plane’s cargo hold on a separate, slightly later flight.
When Kara Swindle and her two young children arrived in Kansas City, they headed over to United’s cargo facility expecting to pick up Irgo. Instead, they found someone else’s Great Dane.
As it turns out, due to an airline mixup, Irgo was accidentally put on a plane headed to Japan. The Great Dane was meant to go on that 6,000+ mile flight. Swindle told the station that the airline claimed that it did not know how the mixup occurred, but alleged the kennels looked similar.
“I just want to know where my dog is,” Swindle told KCTV5. “The fact that we don’t have any idea is the most frustrating part. He could be in Kansas City and we have no idea because the paperwork is all messed up. They have our paperwork here saying that this is the correct dog, but we know it’s not. It’s just horrible.”
At first, United told Swindle that since their pet was put on an international flight, Irgo could possibly be stuck in Japan for two weeks due to quarantine regulations. However, once the dog’s flight landed, United officials there located Irgo and communicated that the dog would be seen by a veterinarian and then flown back to Kansas. In the meantime, United Airlines covered the cost for the family to stay at a Marriott Hotel nearby for the night.
“At this point, all I can do is be hopeful that my dog is going to be okay and return safely. I don’t know what else to do at this point. I can’t cry anymore. I’ve cried too much,” Swindle, who is also in the midst of signing paperwork for a new home, told KCTV5.
United representative Jonathan Guerin issued the following statement to PEOPLE:
“An error occurred during connections in Denver for two pets sent to the wrong destinations. We have notified our customers that their pets have arrived safely and will arrange to return the pets to them as soon as possible. We apologize for this mistake and are following up with the vendor kennel where they were kept overnight to understand what happened.”