Dogs on a Plane: Emotional Support vs. Passenger Safety

Pets, especially dogs, can help patients who suffer from depression and anxiety. That’s why some dogs have been trained for exactly this purpose. Its effectiveness is so widely recognized that the Air Carrier Act was passed in 1986 which allows patients to fly with pets that have been certified as emotional support animals (ESAs). This privilege is offered at no additional cost, as long as the certification documentation can be provided.

The problem, however, is that some dogs aren’t quite as friendly to other people as they ought to be. Furthermore, there are often times where people are abusing the system, getting their dog certified online with a non-reputable agency and the safety of other passengers then become at risk. We have handled dog bite cases before and encourage anyone who has been injured by a dog to call our dog bite injury defense lawyers in San Diego for more information. The case of Marlin Jackson proves this point.

The Dog Attack on Marlin Jackson

Marlin Jackson was traveling from Atlanta to San Diego on a Delta flight. According to witnesses and various reports, he was in a window seat. On the seat next to his was an ESA, reportedly a Labrador mix that weighed about 50 pounds. The dog was also not muzzled.

The problem started before the plane even took off. The dog growled at Jackson, and then it suddenly attacked. Jackson had no room to escape due to his position by the window. The dog lunged at his face before the owner pulled it away, and then it managed break free to attack him again.

The attack was eventually stopped and Delta placed the owner and the dog on another flight. Only on this next flight, the ESA flew in a kennel separately.

Consequences of the Injuries

Marlin Jackson suffered severe injuries due to the attack. He had several facial lacerations, and these included a puncture wound that went through his lip and gums. He required 128 stitches, and the latest reports say that he is consulting with a plastic surgeon for further treatment.

The airline’s response to this incident was to state that they would be reviewing their policies about dogs on their planes. However, as of the latest reports there has been no news regarding Delta policy changes towards ESAs.

Jackson has retained a lawyer, and they’ve issued a statement acknowledging the importance of providing emotional support to patients such as military veterans. However, the statement also emphasized that Delta had a responsibility to ensure the safety of all their passengers.

If a similar event has happened to you or a loved one, then you need to consult a lawyer. The fact of the matter is that someone may be held liable for such an attack on you. A civil suit may be filed against the airline, and if this happens in a public area the suit may be filed against the dog owner.

As the victim of a dog attack, you are entitled to certain rights, and we can make sure to protect those rights. We can help make sure that you’ll receive compensation from liable parties so that you can get help covering the costs of medical treatments, rehab, lost income, and lost productivity.