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Flight Attendant Gets Bitten by Emotional Support Dog

The use of emotional support animals, or comfort animals, are on the rise. However, policies on bringing emotional support animals on a flight are about to get stricter.

On a recent American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Greensboro, North Carolina, a passenger’s emotional support dog chomped on a flight attendant’s hand. The flight attendant required five stitches on his hand after returning to Dallas. 

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA said in a statement on Tuesday, “We need the (U.S.) Department of Transportation to take action now, so events like the one that happened yesterday do not continue to occur on our planes.” 

The union said that although it supports the use of fully trained service animals, the use of emotional support animals falls in a gray area. Not all emotional support animals are trained, and their owners can easily obtain certification online.

“This is fundamentally about maintaining safety, health and security for passengers and crew, while ensuring accessibility for those who need it,” the union said. 

As the popularity of bringing emotional support animals on flights increase, so are the attacks on passengers and crew. Just this year, a five-year-old was allegedly mauled at the airport and a man is suing Delta for negligence after an emotional support animal attacked him face-first in 2017.

To join the FlyerTalk on the topic, head here.

 

[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

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8 Comments
D
drphun August 2, 2019

Since the animal is supposed to be under the control of the owner, why not just treat the animal's attack as a attack by the owner on the flight attendant? That would be a start on reducing service animal fraud.

K
kc1174 July 26, 2019

@arcticflyer if sickly people with dander and nut allergies need to have no one on the plane have pet hair on their clothes, or anyone with nuts on the plane, they don’t need to fly. Fair.

K
kc1174 July 26, 2019

“...their owners can easily obtain certification online”. This is BS. All carriers require either a letter, signed by a psychiatrist or doctor in their residence state accompanied by their license number and state, dated within the last 12 months. Or in the case of AA, fill out their forms and submit at least 48 hours before the flight. To protect the rights of those who do need ESAs, and safety of pax, airlines just need to use the existing carry on animal rules. Needs to be in a carrier that will fit under the seat, and can’t be let out during the flight. ESAs don’t need to be on the pax lap, and don’t need to be a 60lb Doberman.

B
Boggie Dog July 25, 2019

I question the need for emotional support animals but if they are allowed onboard they should be caged or muzzled at all times. My and others safety trumps a passengers need for an emotional support animal.

P
polinka July 25, 2019

Muzzles??