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-   -   AS Sued After "Emotional Support" Pit Bull Attacks a 5-Year-Old Girl at PDX (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/alaska-airlines-mileage-plan/1958590-sued-after-emotional-support-pit-bull-attacks-5-year-old-girl-pdx.html)

JacksonFlyer Feb 28, 19 11:45 am

The pictures of that poor child are horrible, I hope she recovers soon.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as each news agency reports this incident differently, then again information is coming from one side (Family lawyer), reports, etc. I for one believe in support animals but I very much agree this is being abused to the point where restrictions need to be increased. Had this been on the aircraft, perhaps AS could be on the hook but this was in PDX at the gate; here are the Port of Portland's requirements for animals (only part of the policy is listed here):
  • Other animals, including emotional support or comfort animals, are only allowed in the airport if traveling with their owner or being shipped by air. These animals must be kept in pet carriers, except when using the pet relief area. Most airlines offer pet carriers, and carriers are available at pre-security news and gift shops.
  • In rare cases when an animal does not fit in a pet carrier, the owner must carry the animal when practical; otherwise the animal must remain on a leash that does not extend from the body by more than three feet.
One news agency reported that the passenger with the dog was cited for not following this policy when passing through security. If (and a big IF) this was true, why did let her through? I for one have seen many pets in PDX that are not carried and though on a leash, are far away from the three feet noted above. I do not think AS would be responsible for that. To be honest, I think the responsibility lies with the owner of the dog. From reports (again, only reports) the child asked to pet the dog and dog bit her. It was also noted that the mom had left her five year old daughter with her older brother when she went to get coffee and came back after the incident. NOT BLAMING THE MOM....but I can see how a young child would want to pet a dog.....the owner should have known better.

azepine00 Feb 28, 19 4:59 pm


Originally Posted by JacksonFlyer (Post 30832182)
... NOT BLAMING THE MOM.......

since she decided to file a lawsuit i think i am gonna blame her actually... it was a freak accident, she contributed to that by leaving her child unattended and now she it trying to make money off that...

nrgiii Feb 28, 19 5:21 pm


Originally Posted by azepine00 (Post 30833288)
since she decided to file a lawsuit i think i am gonna blame her actually... it was a freak accident, she contributed to that by leaving her child unattended and now she it trying to make money off that...

Maybe, but the dog owner also bears blame. At least the Port of Portland Police thought so when they cited the owner for not having the dog in a carrier.

ASMan Feb 28, 19 6:23 pm

.:SIGH.:
Your post could simply stated "Emotional Support Animal Attacks a 5 Year-Old Girl at PDX" ... This is a tragic story and the pet owner is to blame. However, banning a dog simply because of it's breed shows your ignorance. Yes, I have a Pit Bull and she's the mostly loving animal you could ever meet (everyone is her friend). I also hang out with fellow Pit Bull owners as well (one of my friends actually rescues Pit Bull's) and none, not one has ever attacked or has been aggressive with anyone - no one. I have been attacked by dogs before, SMALL ONES. I was attacked and bitten by a mousy, small dog who jumped out of it's Louis Vuitton dog carrier in my condo complex. The owner had the audacity to blame me for the attack. Is that as dangerous as all Pit Bull? Do we ban all small dogs because I was attacked? I agree, people are abusing the system with "Emotional Support Animal" but it's all animals, just not Pit Bull's. Horrible tragic story of a little girl posted by a very ignorant person. :mad:

MSPeconomist Feb 28, 19 6:33 pm

Who did the girl ask whether she could pet the dog? Her older brother or the dog's owner?

arttravel Feb 28, 19 6:52 pm

According to the news report the child asked the ESA dog owner and received approval to pet the dog. The lawsuit implies previous bad behavior from the dog:

"Defendant Brannan’s prior notice of the vicious propensities and disposition of her pit bull"

Not the most reliable of sources...

But if a dog is not able to handle the crowds at an airport, the dog should not be at the airport -- especially holiday travel where there are bound to be children running around.

arttravel Feb 28, 19 6:58 pm


Originally Posted by azepine00 (Post 30833288)
since she decided to file a lawsuit i think i am gonna blame her actually... it was a freak accident, she contributed to that by leaving her child unattended and now she it trying to make money off that...

I would say that a lot depends on whether the dog has a prior bite history. Also if your dog does not do well in crowds or near small children maybe an airport at holiday time is not the best place to be.

But why shouldn't the owner be responsible for the attack by her dog? Friends with large breed guardian dogs have liability insurance in case their dogs bite.

notquiteaff Feb 28, 19 7:00 pm


Originally Posted by arttravel (Post 30833599)
According to the news report the child asked the ESA dog owner and received approval to pet the dog. The lawsuit implies previous bad behavior from the dog:

"Defendant Brannan’s prior notice of the vicious propensities and disposition of her pit bull"

Not the most reliable of sources...

But if a dog is not able to handle the crowds at an airport, the dog should not be at the airport -- especially holiday travel where there are bound to be children running around.

or worse, on an airplane.

tom911 Feb 28, 19 8:14 pm


Originally Posted by ASMan (Post 30833501)
However, banning a dog simply because of it's breed shows your ignorance.

Would you say the same about Delta Airlines which has banned pit bull type dogs? Looks like they've had a number of employees bit.


Effective July 10, 2018: Each customer is limited to one emotional support animal. We are no longer accepting pit bull type dogs as service or support animals.
https://www.delta.com/us/en/accessib...ervice-animals


Delta went further this week, announcing Wednesday that it would prohibit all “pit bull-type dogs” as service or support animals, in a move it called “the direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten.” The airline told the Associated Press Friday that two employees were bitten by a pit bull traveling as an emotional-support animal last week.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.d1e36dbece82

Wouldn't be surprised to see Alaska revisit its policy in light of the litigation.

PaperGlider Feb 28, 19 8:20 pm

I can't count how many times have I heard from pit bull owners there are no bad dogs only bad owners. So their premise would then implicate the primary person responsible is the owner.

To me in this case, it is too bad the plaintiff included Alaska Airlines in their suit.

Yachtman Feb 28, 19 8:28 pm


Originally Posted by PaperGlider (Post 30833819)
I can't count how many times have I heard from pit bull owners there are no bad dogs only bad owners. So their premise would then implicate the primary person responsible is the owner.

To me in this case, it is too bad the plaintiff included Alaska Airlines in their suit.

It would seem that there are an awful lot of bad pit bull owners.

awayIgo Feb 28, 19 11:29 pm

While the pit bull breed may not have started out as problematic, they are frequently bred to be aggressive. I for one am tired of so called support animals. How did we all function before them? NOTE I distinguish between these animals and service dogs. Service dogs are highly trained working animals.

Transpacificflyer Feb 28, 19 11:49 pm

Please do not refer to a service or "emotional support" animal as a pet. If the animals truly are as described, then they are service animals or working animals. What we have here is a person who may have called his companion animal (aka pet) an emotional support animal. However, until that is established, the animal is deemed to be a service animal.



Originally Posted by arttravel (Post 30833599)
According to the news report the child asked the ESA dog owner and received approval to pet the dog.

Yes, indeed that is what the lawsuit CLAIMS. However, it is an unsubstantiated allegation and yet to be proven in court. A prudent personal injury attorney is going to toss as many claims as he/she can and will see what sticks.

The airport and the airline were in a difficult place. If they did not accommodate the people claiming disabilities then they faced ADA litigation. It's not their fault the child was left unattended or the dog owner did not control the dog. The worst part of this event is that it is likely that the dog owner was exploiting a loophole and took advantage of an allowance intended to help those who are in true need of a service animal. The plaintiff should go after the dog owner, who most likely has no money, nor liability insurance. By naming the airport and airline there is a plan to be able to collect under joint and several liability.

TheotherJames Mar 1, 19 12:17 am

I have rarely ever met anyone whom I believed really needed an emotional pet to function in society. I do believe that its more bad owner than bad pet. The service animal and emotional support animal program is way over abused and I was recently shocked when a friend said they wanted to get their dog certified as a Service Animal and when I asked what type of training or course was involved they said it only involved a 2 minute process on the internet..... totally abused process.

Does anyone know why just mandating muzzles be used for the entire flight is not an option? I am guessing cause it stresses the animal our or something and they may need a support animal?

arttravel Mar 1, 19 12:21 am


Originally Posted by Transpacificflyer (Post 30834272)
Please do not refer to a service or "emotional support" animal as a pet. If the animals truly are as described, then they are service animals or working animals. What we have here is a person who may have called his companion animal (aka pet) an emotional support animal. However, until that is established, the animal is deemed to be a service animal.



Yes, indeed that is what the lawsuit CLAIMS. However, it is an unsubstantiated allegation and yet to be proven in court. A prudent personal injury attorney is going to toss as many claims as he/she can and will see what sticks.

The airport and the airline were in a difficult place. If they did not accommodate the people claiming disabilities then they faced ADA litigation. It's not their fault the child was left unattended or the dog owner did not control the dog. The worst part of this event is that it is likely that the dog owner was exploiting a loophole and took advantage of an allowance intended to help those who are in true need of a service animal. The plaintiff should go after the dog owner, who most likely has no money, nor liability insurance. By naming the airport and airline there is a plan to be able to collect under joint and several liability.

I agree that the allegations are just that—which is why I wrote that the sources are not that reliable.

And yes the deep pocket approach is at play.

Airlines are in a tough situation. The moment a person is denied access to a flight with their emotional support pterodactyl it is likely that the passenger will rally support online and the airline can expect angry tweets, death threats, and photos of other pterodactyls posing with ducklings, infants, and medals won in past wars, along with the “he’s just a big baby and wouldn’t hurt a fly” comments.

I sat behind a service dog on a flight in July from LHR to ZUR and what an amazing animal that was — calm and focused.





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