Emotional Support Dog Bites Child in Phoenix Airport
A child at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was injured by a dog that was booked on a Southwest flight to Portland on February 21, 2018. When the child tried to pet the dog, it responded by biting her on the face. She suffered scratches on her forehead. Paramedics were called to treat the child, and the dog was removed from the flight. The flight was able to depart 20 minutes later.
There is growing debate over which types of pets and service animals should be allowed on flights, and more and more evidence that some people try to pass off untrained pets as service animals. There is also an increase in pet-related accidents on planes in recent years, as well as other disturbances such as pets urinating and defecating on planes and causing other destruction. Unfortunately, there are few requirements for pet owners to meet in order to get a service designation for pets, which can put other people in danger.
While some airlines require proof of vaccinations within 48 hours of the flight and a signed voucher stating their pet can fly without any behavioral problems, other airlines, like Southwest, are more lenient. Southwest allows service and support animals that are no bigger than a 2-year-old child and state that they must ride on the passenger’s lap or the floor in front of their seat. Passengers also need to bring a letter from a medical health professional stating they need the animal and can’t travel without it.
Emotional support animals aren’t just dogs, either. They can be any type of pet as long as they aren’t rodents, reptiles, or birds, which are usually prohibited from flying with passengers. That means that pets such as cats, rabbits, and other mammals can be brought on the plane. Not much is required to prove the animal has professional training and can remain obedient when confronted with small children, flight turbulence, or other stressors.
This causes undue burdens on passengers who could be threatened by unruly and dangerous animals. It is also unfair to people who spend time and money professionally training their pets and now have to meet more stringent requirements because of people who bring untrained pets onboard. Children are especially put at risk, as they are likely to try to pet the animals and are small enough that the animal can bite their faces and other sensitive areas.
People who are traveling, especially in a confined area like a plane, should not be exposed to dangerous animals that can cause injury. Also, parents shouldn’t have to worry about their child being attacked by an animal on a plane!
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