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Man attacked by dog on flight ‘couldn’t escape’

January 22, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A man who was attacked and savaged by a dog on a flight couldn’t run away because he was sitting in a window seat, his lawyer has stated.

The incident happened on a Delta Air Lines US domestic flight and the dog allegedly attacked the victim twice, leaving major facial lacerations.

KIRO7, a CBS-affiliated television channel in Seattle, quoted the victim’s lawyer saying that his client had received facial wounds requiring 28 stitches after being attacked by an “emotional support animal” in an adjoining seat.

The victim is said to have taken his seat – when another passenger accompanied by a snarling dog weighing about 23kg came and sat down beside him. The dog then sat on its owner’s lap. As the hapless victim tried to fasten his seatbelt, the dog suddenly lunged at his face.

“It is troubling that an airline would allow a dog of such substantial size to ride in a passenger’s lap without a muzzle,” the lawyer said in a written statement.

“Especially considering the dog and its owner were assigned a middle seat despite Delta Air Lines’ policies that call for the re-accommodation of larger animals.”

The victim, who was rushed away by ambulance for medical treatment, now plans to consult a plastic surgeon.

The US Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to accommodate service or emotional support animals, within certain guidelines.

Travellers are bringing cats, dogs, pigs, parrots, weasels, monkeys and even miniature horses aboard. A year or two ago, Eric Lipp, executive director of Open Doors Organisation, a US advocacy group for people traveling with disabilities, told the New York Post of a traveller who flew with his miniature horse. As it didn’t fit comfortably in economy class, owner and pet horse were upgraded to first class.

“The airline made the horse wear these little shoes so it didn’t scuff the plane, but it pooped all over and the other first-class travellers weren’t happy,” Lipp said.

US airlines are caught in a tight place, because fines for refusing legitimate support animals can run as high as USD 150,000.

Starting in March this year, Delta is reported to be making things a bit trickier for animal lovers by requiring a certificate saying their animal has been trained.

Written by Peter Needham

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