Delta Air Lines recently announced a policy to ban pit bulls as service or support animals. The bill is supposed to go into effect on July 10. However, the Atlanta-based Delta is facing challenges from people who say the policy is discriminatory and may not be legal.
Delta has stated that the policy is due to “growing safety concerns” after two employees were recently bitten by a passenger’s emotional support animal.
Still, some groups have challenged the new Delta policy.
Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a statement saying: “A limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal is not allowed under the Department’s Air Carrier Access Act regulation.”
An airline can refuse to carry service animals based on specific factors “such as the size or weight of the animal, whether the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others” and other factors.
The DOT said it will investigate complaints from passengers and determine whether the law was violated.
The Animal Farm Foundation has also stated that Delta’s policy “discriminates against people with disabilities who need service dogs. It denies them access to travel and access to living the same lives as everyone else.”
At issue is also the Air Carrier Access Act which manages the treatment of service animals on airlines.
The Animal Farm Foundation, which has a service dog program has also weighed in. According to them, Delta is “breaking ACAA regulations”. According to them, nothing in the regulations allows the airline to deny pit bulls as service dogs.
Humane Society of the United States acting president Kitty Block has also issued a statement. She is saying that “Federal laws in place to protect emotional support and service animals do not discriminate based on breed,” Instead, what needs to determine the treatment of an animal is its own individual behavior.
It remains to be seen what will happen with Delta’s new policy.