Delta Airlines announced Wednesday that it will no longer allow “pit bull type” dogs as service or support animals on board its aircrafts starting on July 10.
Delta customers will also be limited to one emotional support animal per flight from that date forward, per the new policy.
“Pit bull type” dogs will be added to a long list of service and support animals that are banned from flying Delta, including goats, hedgehogs, and birds of prey.
“These updates, which come as the peak summer travel season is underway, are the direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten,” the company said in a statement announcing the decision.
“The safety and security of Delta people and our customers is always our top priority,” Delta Chief Operating Officer Gil West said in the statement. “We will always review and enhance our policies and procedures to ensure that Delta remains a leader in safety.”
Pit bull owners are NOT happy about this decision, to put it mildly.
hey @Delta, fuck you. My support dog is a pittbull and I’ll GLADLY use a different airline with my ESA Pitbull ? it’s bullshit that you won’t recognize her as a support animal because of her BREED. pic.twitter.com/G6WprcNuOU
— gracie morse (@graciemorsee) June 21, 2018
— My Red Smog (@Mygreatredmare) June 20, 2018
— Chewie (@chewie_the_dawg) June 21, 2018
Some people pointed out that “pit bull type” doesn’t specify any one breed and can be applied to many different dogs.
Hi @Delta. Platinum medallion flyer here. Can you explain what you think a “pit bull type dog” is? That’s not actually a breed. What is the basis for your decision?
— Lizzie O'Leary (@lizzieohreally) June 21, 2018
Really @Delta ? You’re banning “pit bull type dogs” as support dogs?! Disgusting how you think it’s okay to vilify an entire breed. I guess this includes my sweet boy as well as @scrowder ‘s @HopperCrowder pic.twitter.com/qQqOCm3yen
— Maxine (@Irate_Ginger) June 21, 2018
Others on Twitter argued that banning a breed as a service animal violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, but commercial airlines are exempt from the ADA. The Air Carrier Access Act is the federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel.
Are you kidding me, @delta?
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against the use of service dogs in public spaces, INCLUDING breed-specific discrimination.
Also, "pit bull type dog" is not a breed. https://t.co/F3BMKdJzmP
— Nikki Burdine (@NikkiBurdine) June 21, 2018
The ACAA section of the Department of Transportation’s website doesn’t mention dog breeds when talking about how the law applies to service animals on planes, but it also doesn’t say that airlines aren’t allowed to exclude certain breeds.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released a statement criticizing Delta’s decision Thursday afternoon, saying that the new policy “does not achieve its stated public safety aim and spreads false and life-threatening stereotypes.”
— ASPCA (@ASPCA) June 21, 2018
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Delta Airlines for comment and clarification on what the airline means by “pit bull type dogs.”