THE numbers seem damning. As Gulliver recently reported, 18 animals died last year on United Airlines flights. No other airline had more than two animal deaths, according to data from America’s Department of Transportation.

So is America’s fourth largest carrier really nine times as deadly as the next most perilous airline for a travelling pet? The Washington Post, a newspaper, has conducted a strikingly thorough investigation of this question, and the answer is no.

United, the paper found, has allowed certain high-risk dog breeds that other airlines have barred to travel on its flights. The canines in question are brachycephalic (in layman’s terms “short-nosed” or “snub-nosed”) varieties, which are likelier to suffer from respiratory problems and to die on planes. These breeds include bulldogs, boxers, pugs, and shihtzus. American and Delta, United’s main rivals, do not allow these types of dogs on their planes, citing the likelihood of injury or death. But until last month United did allow them, giving the airline a virtual monopoly on the transportation of these creatures on some routes.

From 2015 to 2017, the Washington Post reports, 85 animals died on American carriers. Of those, 41 deaths occurred on United, and 32 of the deceased were dogs. Fully half of those were of high-risk breeds banned by other airlines. (Six were American bully dogs, the breed likeliest to meet its end in the skies.) In other words, if United had the same policies as its main rivals, its number of dog deaths would have been halved.

That is still not enough to account for the full disparity in animal deaths between United and other airlines. Last year, 2.24 animals were killed, injured, or lost for every 10,000 animals transported on United. The second-worst offender, American, had 0.87 incidents per 10,000. So even if United cut its figure in half—which it could not do by just banning snub-nosed dogs, since there were non-canine animals who perished on board as well—it would still be the worst offender. Just not by as wide a margin.

From its animal woes to the infamous incident in which a passenger was dragged off a United flight last April, United has not had a good past 12 months. Fortunately, the peril United poses to furry flyers is not quite as severe as it first appeared. But the fact remains that United is still the most dangerous carrier for animals.