A child was severely injured by an emotional support dog on a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Portland, Oregon Wednesday night, adding fuel to the fire over the national debate regarding service animals on airplanes.
The dog bit the little girl on her face after she approached the animal during the boarding process, according to a spokesperson for Southwest.
Check it out per Washington Post:
A dog injured a child onboard a Southwest Airlines flight, the latest incident in the controversy over allowing emotional-support animals on planes.
It happened Wednesday night while passengers were boarding a Southwest flight from Phoenix to Portland, Ore.
Southwest said paramedics examined the girl, who was later cleared to continue on the flight. The dog and its owner remained in Phoenix while the plane left about 20 minutes behind schedule. Neither the girl nor the dog’s handler was named.
Here’s more from Fox News:
Another passenger on the same flight, Todd R., took a photo of the support animal and shared it on Twitter in a post that’s since been deleted, arguing that dogs should not be on planes and he would no longer be flying Southwest.
In another tweet, the passenger wrote: “When dogs are biting 6 year old kids on planes, it may be time to reconsider rewriting your ‘safety’ policy and procedure manual,” AZ Central reported.
In regards to the incident of the dog injuring the child, Southwest denied responsibility, but was “investigating the matter.”
Two other major airlines have introduced stricter regulations for service and support animals this year. Last month, Delta Air Lines announced new strict guidelines for bringing service and support animals onboard, citing customer abuse of the policy and a rise in animal-related incidents.
This incident comes on the heels of a national debate over the presence of emotional support and service animals on airline flights. While service animals are certified and undergo rigorous behavioral training, what constitutes an emotional support animal varies from state to state. Oftentimes, it’s as simple as paying a small fee online and printing a certificate from an unlicensed provider.
What’s your opinion on the matter?
Do you have a service animal or an emotional support companion?