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Posted: January 19, 2018

Delta tightens restrictions on emotional support animals

Delta Changes Rules For Emotional Support Animals

By Kelly Yamanouchi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Traveling with an “emotional support animal” on a Delta flight is about to get a little trickier.

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Emotional support animals in special vests have become a more common sight around airports and on flights in recent years. But in the wake of a horrific mauling of a passenger by another traveler’s emotional support dog on a Delta plane l­­­ast year, the airline is changing its policy.

Starting March 1, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines plans to require passengers traveling with emotional support animals to submit a “confirmation of animal training” form signed by the passenger indicating the animal can behave, along with proof of health or vaccinations submitted online 48 hours in advance of their flight. The new rules are in addition to the current requirement of a letter from a doctor or licensed mental health professional.


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Delta passenger bitten by emotional support dog couldn't escape, attorney says

The man mauled by an emotional support dog on a Delta Air Lines flight in Atlanta was attacked twice and could not escape because he was in a window seat, his attorney said Thursday.

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The passenger, Marlin Jackson, of Daphne, Alabama, had facial wounds requiring 28 stitches, according to attorney J. Ross Massey, of Birmingham law firm Alexander Shunnarah & Associates.

“It is troubling that an airline would allow a dog of such substantial size to ride in a passenger’s lap without a muzzle,” Massey said in a written statement. “Especially considering the dog and its owner were assigned a middle seat despite Delta Air Lines’ policies that call for the re-accommodation of larger animals.”

Jackson boarded the San Diego-bound flight on Sunday and went to the window seat. Passenger Ronald Kevin Mundy Jr. was already in the middle seat with his dog in his lap, according to the law firm.

“According to witnesses the approximately 50-pound dog growled at Mr. Jackson soon after he took his seat,” according to the firm’s statement.

“We expect airlines to follow procedures as required and verify any dogs travelling unrestrained in open cabin are trained for handling the large crowds and enclosed environments encountered on board an airplane,” Massey said in the statement.

“The dog continued to act in a strange manner as Mr. Jackson attempted to buckle his seatbelt. The growling increased and the dog lunged for Mr. Jackson’s face. The dog began biting Mr. Jackson, who could not escape due to his position against the plane’s window,” according to the firm’s account.

“The dog was pulled away but broke free from Mr. Mundy’s grasp and attacked Mr. Jackson a second time … The attacks reportedly lasted 30 seconds and resulted in profuse bleeding from severe lacerations to Mr. Jackson’s face, including a puncture through the lip and gum.”

Jackson was taken by ambulance to an emergency room for treatment, then took a later flight to San Diego, according to Delta. He plans to consult a plastic surgeon, the law firm said.

The firm is seeking information on Delta’s “compliance with policies for unrestrained larger animals within a plane’s cabin and the verification process of their emotional support animal training requirements.”

Delta declined to comment on the law firm’s statement.

The Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to accommodate service or emotional support animals, within certain guidelines.

Delta’s website says, “A kennel is not required for emotional support animals if they are fully trained and meet the same requirements as a service animal.”

Efforts to reach Mundy, who was not charged, have been unsuccessful. A police report said Mundy was a military service member who “advised that the dog was issued to him for support.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is seeking details about the incident. The DOT says airlines cannot require that service and support animals be carried in a kennel unless there is “a safety-related reason to do so.”Warning: Graphic images below:

  Delta tightens restrictions on emotional support animals

Chad Rhym

Delta tightens restrictions on emotional support animals

Chad Rhym

Delta tightens restrictions on emotional support animals

June 13, 2017 MILTON, Susie Aga, founder of Atlanta Dog Trainer, a "premier dog training and behavior modification center in the Southeast," (Atlantadogtrainer.com) communicates with a variety of different dogs using a training ramp within her facility.

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