Delta Air Lines has a new emotional support and service animal policy. And some animal-rights activists aren’t happy.
Starting July 10, the company will limit passengers to one emotional support pet each. The new rules also specify which pets can serve as support animals. Pit bulls have been added to the list of “animals not permitted.”
Delta said its decision came as a result of an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals since 2016.
There are also concerns that passengers have been abusing the system for emotional support animals.
“Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, spiders and more,” Delta said in a press release. “Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs.”
But some passengers and pet advocates have objected to the notion that pit bulls aren’t fit to be emotional support animals.
Many have also expressed worry that the decision will restrict those with disabilities.
“The part of this that really makes me the saddest is that people with disabilities already have to deal with stereotypes and discrimination and lack of accessibility in other areas of their lives, and it’s extremely unfortunate that they would have to deal with this type of discrimination, as well,” said Bronwen Dickey, author of “Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon.”
Many, including Vinny Guadagnino of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” have taken to Twitter and said they will boycott the company.
“Delta Air Lines’ policy to ban pit bull-type dogs as comfort or service animals does not achieve its stated public safety aim and spreads false and life-threatening stereotypes. Every dog is unique, even dogs within the same breed, and their behavior is influenced by many factors,” Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told WABE. “Delta Air Lines should resist unwarranted breed prejudice and rescind its breed ban.”
Dog breed bans are nothing new. More than 900 cities have enacted legislation that is breed specific.
Those who support the legislation say that pit bulls are an inherently aggressive breed. Organizations such as the ASPCA and Humane Society dispute this claim.