June 22, 2019
On Wednesday, Delta Air Lines announced a ban on “pit bull type dogs” as service or support animals on its flights. The air carrier is also limiting passengers to one service or support animal per flight. Their new policy will go into effect July 10.
Delta attributed the new rules to an increase in employees being bitten by dogs. The airline did not share how it would identify pit bull type dogs, and there’s concern this policy will be harmful to people with disabilities who rely on service dogs that resemble pit bulls.
Animal Humane Society opposes regulation based solely on breed and/or legislation banning specific breeds. While breed is one factor that contributes to a dog’s temperament, in many instances there are inherent problems in determining a dog’s breed.
Breed alone cannot and should not be used to predict whether a dog may pose a danger to the community and is not an adequate indicator of a dog’s propensity to bite. Furthermore, this decision perpetuations false and dangerous stereotypes of pit bulls.
Additionally, true service dogs spend years in training and are required to pass a series of tests where they are consistently well behaved in different environments. Unfortunately, people misrepresent their dogs as service animals without proper training.
We urge Delta to reconsider this policy and focus instead on tactics that will effectively reduce risk to its passengers and staff.