After a dramatic 84% rise in incidents involving emotional support dogs, Delta Air Lines has revised its policies. Effective July 10, 2018, Delta will no longer allow “pit bull type dogs” to serve as service or emotional support dogs on its flights. The policy revision comes after a string of several incidents involving Delta employees, specifically two that were bitten by an emotional support dog in June 2017, as well as passengers being bitten by dogs traveling with their owners as emotional support pets. As Rhode Island dog bite attorney’s, we frequently see clients who have been injured and suffer from dog bite related injuries to the face and/or body. Often, the victim is bit by a dog owned by a friend or family member, even animals that were serving as an emotional support dog. Dog bite injuries in Rhode Island can be quite severe and require hundreds of thousands of dollars in specialized medical care. Acute infection, permanent disfiguration, and reconstructive surgery may result over a period of years. Dog attacks can also be fatal.
Pit Bulls Most Common Breed Banned
Though Delta does not specify the breed of dog involved in the incidents that led up to the policy change, we do know that over 900 U.S. cities have passed breed specific regulations and pit bulls are the most common type of dog banned in these ordinances. Dogsbite.org, a public education website, cites that pit bulls were involved in 66% of dog bite related deaths in the U.S. from 2005-2017. Pit bulls and rottweilers combined account for 76% of the fatalities. Many argue nature versus nurture when it comes to aggressive breeds and blame the owners, not the breed. However, some animal experts claim it is partially both. Some say the early formative years for a pit bull are very important in how they are raised and their future demeanor. Even the best dog trainer adopting an adult pit bull that was abused as a youngster may have a difficult time re-training the breed. It is noted that pit bulls are descendants of a breed that was bred to fight and some of the breed itself may be inherently more aggressive than other breeds. Though statistics show pit bulls and rottweilers account for the highest number of dog bite fatalities, it is not just these breeds that can be dangerous. Any breed of dog can bite and injure someone. As dog bite lawyers, we have handled Rhode Island dog bite cases and Massachusetts dog bite cases involving both pit bulls and other breeds. Our injury attorneys see first-hand the acute trauma that any breed of dog can cause to an adult or child.
Increase in Dog Bite Injuries Caused by Emotional Support Dogs
The rise in dog bites on airlines such as Delta creates unsafe conditions for crew members as well as passengers. There has been a rise in complaints lodged from both crew and passengers for dog bites, and also aggressive behavior by these pets such as growling and lunging. As RI dog bite lawyers, we know that not all dogs are fit to be in a crowd and surrounded, and maybe unexpectedly touched, by strangers. Even the most seemingly sweet and docile dog can turn volatile when it feels threatened or confronted. At Tapalian Law, we have seen victims of dog bite injuries hurt by an animal they have known for years and never felt threatened by. But some dogs, and some breeds in particular, are more likely to bite when they feel threatened, even just by an innocent movement by someone they are familiar with. Some of these dogs have a history of aggressive behavior, but not always.
“Service Dog” Loophole
There is no doubt that emotional support dogs are more prevalent on flights than they have ever in the past. Over 2/3 of the alleged service dogs brought onto Delta flights each year, over 160,000 dogs, are classified as emotional support dogs. That may be because of the loosened criteria and the loopholes in the requirements necessary to bring a support pet on a flight, which some claim is abuse of the system. People that feel more comfortable toting their pet along on a trip, even though not screened or trained to be a service pet, are finding it easier to get paperwork from a therapist with minimal screening of the actual pet and its behavior and abilities. Clearly, not all of the animals brought onto flights meet the legitimate emotional support dog standards. This is causing difficulties for those owners of legitimate support dogs whom are needed to assist the blind, deaf, and those suffering from PTSD.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer in RI or MA
Have you been bitten by a dog? Has your child been bitten by a dog? If you have been injured by a dog in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you need an experienced dog bite lawyer well-versed in RI dog bite law and MA dog bite law. Dog bite laws vary from state to state and you need a dog bite attorney like David Tapalian who solidly knows the ins and outs and can get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you or a family member has been bitten by a dog, it is imperative you seek medical attention right away. However minor the injuries seem, it is important they are addressed by a professional to avoid infection and further complications. Dog bite injuries may involve extensive medical bills, missed time from work, reconstructive surgery, and emotional suffering. Attorney David Tapalian is a dog bite lawyer who can expertly assess your injury claim to see if you are eligible to seek compensation. Tapalian Law will be by your side every step of the way throughout your injury case and we don’t get paid unless you win. Call us today at 401-552-5000, or email us here.