Delta Air Lines Bans 'Pit Bull Type' Service and Emotional Support Dogs

Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday that it will no longer allow “pit bull type” service and emotional support dogs. The ban starts July 10.

Delta claims the ban is for “growing safety concerns” after some employees were bitten. “The safety and security of Delta people and our customers is always our top priority,” Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer, said. “We will always review and enhance our policies and procedures to ensure that Delta remains a leader in safety.”

The announcement also referred to an emotional support dog, a chocolate lab pointer mix, who attacked a passenger while boarding a Delta flight.

A service animal is a dog that is trained to perform tasks to help an individual with a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Service animals are allowed to accompany their owners in most public places, except surgical rooms and other areas with legitimate safety concerns.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), commercial airlines do not have to comply with the ADA. Instead, airlines must follow the Air Carrier Access Act, a federal law designed to protect the rights of those with disabilities while flying.

While the ADA prevents businesses from discriminating against service animals by breed, the U.S. Department of Transportation says airlines may exclude animals that are too large, obstruct aisles or emergency exits or “pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.”

Emotional support animals (ESA) are also covered under the Air Carrier Access Act, though they are not protected by the ADA. In order to have an ESA, you need a doctor’s note stating the animal provides an emotional or mental health-related service.

Many owners of “pit bull type,” service and emotional support dogs voiced their anger with Delta on Twitter.

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