This is one strange story.

Simon, a Continental giant rabbit that was already three-feet long, died at O'Hare Airport in Chicago last month. Simon's father is currently the world's largest rabbit at four-feet long, and Simon was expected to outgrow him. Sadly, that won't happen.

Simon had been flown on United Airlines from London, bound for new owners in Iowa who planned to show the rabbit at the Iowa State Fair. Reports have it that Simon was fine when he was taken off the flight and this is where this story gets truly crazy and very sad.

At a press conference this morning in Des Moines, attorney Guy Cook says the rabbit's Iowa owners want an independent investigation into its death. During the press conference, according to the Des Moines Register, Cook said, "... at least one airline employee has reportedly said that Simon may have been inadvertently locked in a freezer for up to 16 hours." United Airlines then cremated the rabbit, according to Cook. He says they did so without the approval of the owners.

A spokesperson for United Airlines told the Sun,

That assertion is completely false. Simon was cared for at the PetSafe kennel facility which is kept at room temperature (on average 70°F). He arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport in apparent good condition at 10:25 am (local time). He was seen by a representative of the kennel facility moving about within his crate about 11:00am. Shortly thereafter, a kennel representative noticed Simon was motionless and determined that he passed away.”

The Iowa ownership group for Simon reportedly included People's Company president, Steve Breure, Benning Financial partner Duke Reichardt, and Mark Oman, a retired executive from Wells Fargo. Their attorneys say that in addition to the investigation they also want the airline to pay for the rabbit, the cost of shipping, and "economic loss" caused by Simon's death.  According to Daily Mail, the rabbit cost $530 and the cost of shipping him to the U.S. was $1800.

Simon would've definitely been a reason to go to the 2017 Iowa State Fair, and perhaps future years, as well. Unfortunately, since his body was cremated I doubt we'll ever know exactly what happened to him. Hopefully, the truth will indeed be revealed but I'm afraid we'll be left with which story to believe.

[via Des Moines Register, Daily Mail, and The Sun]