A family is suing Alaska Airlines after their five-year-old child was allegedly mauled by an emotional support animal at the airport in Portland; the dog was neither crated nor wearing a muzzle—the owner of the support dog is being sued as part of the lawsuit as well, which is asking for $1.1 million.
Following a 2017 incident, Alaska Airlines, the Port of Portland, and emotional support dog owner Michelle Brannan are being sued by an Oregon family. Allegedly, Brannan’s emotional support dog mauled the Gonzalez family’s five-year-old daughter while they waited at a gate in Portland’s airport. The dog was not in a crate or muzzled at the time of the attack.
“As a result of the incident, Gabriella Gonzalez suffered injury to the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and soft tissue of her face, eye, eyelid, tear duct and lip, as well as emotional trauma; all of which injuries, and the consequences of them, are permanent and have caused her to suffer non‐economic damages…of $1 million,” the lawsuit says, reported by USA Today.
An extra $100,000 is included in the suit to compensate for surgeries needed to repair the facial damages. The lawsuit says the Port of Portland and Alaska Airlines were negligent, and Brannan created “an unreasonable risk of harm to the public,” USA Today reported.
Emotional support animal policies have been in flux lately as many airlines are changing them. Alaska Airlines did just that last year, noting in a statement, “We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals.”
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[Source: Wikimedia/M.O. Stevens]