Criminal investigation launched into dog's death on flight

A criminal investigation has been launched into a dog's death aboard a Houston-to-New York United Airlines flight after a flight attendant ordered the animal be placed in the plane's overhead bin.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, the Harris County, Texas, district attorney's office said its animal cruelty division is working with the county's animal cruelty task force to investigate the incident that occurred on the Monday night flight.

The statement said prosecutors won't decide if criminal charges are warranted until the investigation is completed.

United Airlines says the flight attendant who ordered the passenger to put her pet carrier in the overhead bin didn't know there was a puppy inside. However, the family and other passengers contradict the airline's account, saying the dog's barks were audible from inside the bin.