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Delta Facing Lawsuit From Passenger Bitten Onboard One of its Flights by a “Viscious” Dog

Delta Facing Lawsuit From Passenger Bitten Onboard One of its Flights by a “Viscious” Dog

Delta Refuses to Comply with DOT Ruling that Pit Bull's Must Not Be Arbitrarily Banned as Service Animals

A lawsuit has been filed in the Superior Court of Connecticut against Delta Air Lines by the mayor of Bridgeport alleging that he was bitten by another passenger’s “vicious” dog leaving him with permanent scarring and disfigurement to his lower leg. The incident allegedly occurred in November 2018, only a short time after the Atlanta-based Delta had issued new rules on emotional support animals because of a marked increase in bad behavior by animals in the passenger cabin.

Joe Ganim claims the dog launched an unprovoked attack upon him shortly after he had taken his seat on Delta flight DL1814 on November 10, 2018. He claims Delta is legally responsible for the resulting injury because it was negligent and careless in failing to safeguard passengers from the dog that allegedly had a propensity to be “vicious, bite and unstable”.

In reply to the initial complaint, lawyers acting on behalf of Delta deny any breach of duty or negligence on their part. They also claim the required paperwork had been submitted by the dog’s owner which proved it was in compliance with recent changes to its Emotional Support Animal (ESA) policy.

Ganim also says he was forced to have a series of “painful” shots to ward off the danger of rabies but Delta says this was unnecessary because they had documentary proof that the dog had been vaccinated against Rabies.

In 2018, Delta made a series of changes to its policies on allowing dogs and other pets in the passenger cabin following an 84 per cent increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals in just two years. Reports included urination and defecation, as well as biting.

In one incident, a man couldn’t escape an onboard attack by a 70-pound dog because he was trapped in a window seat. The victim suffered a serious bite wound that required 28-stitches according to his attorney. Delta continues to ban pit bull-type dogs as a result of that incident despite a ruling from the Department of Transportation that forbids an outright ban on certain breeds.

In 2018, Delta reported 40 instances of aggressive animal behavior on its aircraft. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the airline carried nearly 700 animals in the passenger cabin every single day, although it has moved to ban certain animals such as pigs, birds, rodents and insects from being carried in the passenger cabin.

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