PASSENGER BIT BY SERVICE DOG ON AIRPLANE
A national news service recently reported that a passenger on a Delta Airlines flight was bit on the face by an emotional support service dog while on an airplane. The incident occurred Sunday on a flight preparing to take off. The Labrador mix, weighing about 50 pounds, was in the middle seat with its owner and the victim was in the window seat, according to a witness. The gentleman in front of the victim and the dog owner indicated that he had cause for alarm.
“There was a call for help, you could hear dog growling and a bark. And someone screaming, ‘I need help there is a medical emergency,'” said a passenger. “The dog had been growling at the gentleman and the gentleman said, ‘is this dog going to bite me?’ three times and there was no effort to remove the dog off the plane,” the nearby passenger said. It was unclear what led up to the attack.
The victim was taken to the hospital. Delta’s flight crew immediately got help and paramedics walked the man off the plane. She said the man was noticeably shaken up. “The area was completely covered in blood. They came in and sanitized the area and replace the airplane seats,” she said.
Delta issued the following statement: “Prior to pushback of flight 1430, ATL-SAN, a passenger sustained a bite from another passenger’s emotional support dog. The customer who was bitten was removed from the flight to receive medical attention. Local law enforcement cleared the dog, and the dog and its owner were re-accommodated on a later flight; the dog will fly in a kennel.”
We think of service dogs being very well trained, and they generally are. However, they are still animals and can react in some situations by biting or attacking someone. Our dog bite lawyers have represented many people who have been bitten or attacked by a dog in Minnesota. We have not ever had a case where a service dog bit someone, and we hope we never do. A service dog takes a long time to train and is so valuable and connected to its owner. This is just a tragic situation. However, the dog bite victim must be considered and fairly compensated for the injury. Fortunately, the dog owner’s homeowners insurance will most likely pay the compensation, even though the dog bite was from a service dog and it occurred outside the home.