Delta Airlines announced Wednesday it’s updating its service and support animal policy yet again to further enhance restrictions after two emplyees were bitten by a dog travelling as a support animal.
The airline will now allow only one emotional support animal per customer per flight and will prohibit all “pit bull type dogs” as service or support animals.
These new limitations come as a “direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten,” the airline said in a press release.
"We must err on the side of safety. Last week, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs," the airline wrote on Twitter.
"But we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk - and we can’t take that gamble on employees or customers," Delta wrote.
Delta first updated its policy in March, citing customer abuse and a rise in animal-related incidents.
The regulations require those wishing to travel with a service or support animal to provide special documentation. Customers must show a current signed veterinary health form or immunization record for the animal 48 hours in advance, as well as a signed letter by a doctor or mental health professional and proof the animal can behave while in the cabin.
"The safety and security of Delta people and our customers is always our top priority," Chief Operating Officer Gil West said in a statement. "We will always review and enhance our policies and procedures to ensure that Delta remains a leader in safety."
According to the statement, the airline carries around 700 service and support animals daily and has seen an “84 percent increase in reported animal incidents since 2016, including urination/defecation, biting and even a widely reported attack by a 70-pound dog,” which they note is uncommon behavior for properly trained working animals.