Emotional support dog bites child on Southwest flight

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 23, 2018

This has led to an 84 per cent rise in animal-related safety incidents, including a high-profile case of a 50-pound emotional support dog mauling another passenger.

The girl was boarding Southwest Flight 1904 Wednesday from Phoenix to Portland when she was bitten by the dog identified as an "emotional support" animal.

The unidentified pet owner remained in Phoenix when the flight departed about 20 minutes late, the airline said.

"Our initial reports indicate a support dog's teeth scraped a child's forehead as the young passenger approached the animal, causing a minor injury", a Southwest spokesperson told The Independent.

A spokeswoman for Southwest said the dog was in the plane's first row with its owner, who warned the girl not to approach it.

Police interviewed the girl's family and the dog's owner.

The news comes after several American airlines have changed their policies regarding emotional support animals.

Unlike service animals such as guide dogs, support animals need no training. However, passengers can be asked to show a medical professional's note explaining why support animals should travel.

Southwest started reviewing its policy even before Wednesday's event, Ford said.

Starting next week, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will require more paperwork and assurances from owners of support animals.

At least one passenger was bothered by the incident, posting about it on Twitter.

People who use service dogs said Delta's original 48-hour requirement would have made it impossible for them to take last-minute, emergency flights.

In the U.S., owners are allowed to be accompanied by their service animals in the cabin under federal law, as long as they do not pose a threat to the safety of others.

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