The people who had purchased Simon had hoped to enter him into the Iowa State Fair this summer. They have now given the airline seven days to respond to their complaint – which demands all records in their internal investigation, including surveillance footage.
The seller, Annette Edwards, a former Playboy model from Worcester, was told that the rare rabbit survived the flight, but had died in the storage room at the airport.
"The safety and wellbeing of all the animals that travel with us is of the utmost importance to United Airlines and our PetSafe team. We have been in contact with our customer and have offered assistance. We are reviewing this matter,” United Airlines said in a statement after the rabbit’s death.
United has denied that the rabbit was placed in a freezer, but have not addressed the cremation allegations.
“United Airlines can issue any statement they like but their company’s credibility is under question when they immediately cremate the giant rabbit Simon without anyone’s consent,” Guy Cook, lead attorney for the three-person investment group that owned the rabbit, told Reuters. “They destroyed the proof.”
Simon’s father, Darius, is currently the world’s largest rabbit at 4 feet, 4 inches long. The son was expected to outgrow the elder bunny.
United recently sparked global outrage after a witness video of passenger David Dao being dragged off his flight went viral. The 69-year-old doctor had been told he needed to give up the seat he had paid for as they had overbooked, and was violently removed when he refused to comply.
The company recently settled with Dao for an undisclosed amount.