United Airlines Drops Ban On Pit Bulls After Public Outcry
“As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs traveling in a non-plastic, reinforced crate,” the company said in a statement.
When United’s merge with Continental Airlines became official in early March, the airline adopted Continental’s PetSafe policy that banned Pit Bulls as well as the American Staffordshire Terriers, Presa Canario, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and Ca de Bou – all frequent victims of breed-specific legislation (BSL).
Like the Continental policy, United’s initially referred to these dogs as “dangerous,” but the company quickly removed that label after receiving complaints.
More than 45,600 people signed a Change.org petition asking United to remove the ban. The campaign was started by Jessie Huart, the dog mom of Slaw, a senior Pit Bull mix, after Continental Airlines refused to fly her dog last December.
Although United dropped the ban, these nine breeds must be transported in reinforced crates that meet International Air Transport Association (IATA) Container Requirement #82 as follows, according to the United Airlines website:
“The container or crate must be constructed of wood, metal, synthetic materials, weld mesh or wire mesh. Additional design principles regarding frame, sides, floor, roof and doors also apply. No portion of the crate may be plastic. The crate door must be made of heavy wire mesh, metal or reinforced wood and should have a secure means of fastening that cannot be opened accidentally.”
Pit Bulls are not allowed on Delta Airlines or American Airlines, but for the reason they’re considered brachycephalic (short-snouted). Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers and other snub-nosed breeds are also banned because they may experience breathing difficulties during flights.
Huart is pleased with United Airlines’ decision to drop its breed embargo.
“I am thrilled that United listened to their customers,” she said in a press release. “This change is a victory for responsible dog owners everywhere at a time when many are facing breed discrimination.”
PHOTO: Lasse Fuss