Major Airline Bans Pit Bull Service Dogs, Now Faces Major Backlash

Delta Airlines released a statement saying that they are “further enhancing” their service animal policy by banning pit bulls.



The ban is set to go into effect on July 10th. In this ban, registered service animals will be denied simply because their breed. The new policy also bars them as emotional support dogs.


“The new requirements support Delta's top priority of ensuring safety for its customers and employees, while supporting the rights of customers with legitimate needs,” the company wrote in a press release.




Delta says the move stems from multiple incidents of flight attendants and passengers being bitten by dogs who were allowed on-flight as emotional support dogs. They also cited an increased rate of animals urinating or defecating during flights. The company did not specify whether these incidents involved pit bulls or other animals.


Linda Hickey's 13-year-old son, Jonny, has autism and relies on a support pit bull named Xena to help him stay calm when he's stressed.


Hickey and her son have flown Delta with Xena twice and cite that they had great experiences both times. The 5-year-old pit bull is a rescue-turned-support dog who was neglected by her previous owner. Now she's loved and trained to support Jonny.


Jonny and Xena Instagram/xenaandjonny


“Xena was treated like royalty,” Hickey said about past flights. “Our flight wasn't full so they moved people around so she could have her own seat. They gave her ice chips and truly cared about her.”


Xena was also given a pair of flight wings by the flight crew to wear on her vest. Now she and Jonny will no longer be allowed to fly with the company.


“She was very proud to wear her Delta wings,” Hickey said. “The real issue here is not the animals, but the people. We are paying the price because others have taken advantage of the ability to get an animal certified. Now, those who are really in need of their support animals, such as my son, are being restricted.”


Xena and Jonny in the car |Instagram/xenaandjonny


Pit bull owners from across the country have spoken out against the policy with many saying that it continues to perpetuate stereotypes that pit bulls are inherently dangerous and a danger to society. In reality, many pit bulls make wonderful service animals and even police K9 officers.


Hickey hopes the ban will be overturned quickly:


“Clearly, we don’t agree with this ban,” Hickey said. “I certainly hope they rethink and reverse their decision. Dogs like Xena are the majority.”


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