A Delta Air Lines passenger was left bloody and badly injured after he was attacked by an emotional support dog aboard a flight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
A Delta spokesperson told Fox 5 Atlanta that the victim was removed from the flight so that he could receive immediate medical attention.
“The gentleman’s face was completely bloody, blood in his eyes, cheeks, nose, his mouth, his shirt was covered in blood,” passenger Bridget Maddox-Peoples said.
She described the dog as a possible lab mix weighing an estimated 50 pounds.
According to Maddox-Peoples, the victim was sitting by the window while the dog’s owner was in the middle seat when the dog attacked.
She said the flight crew reacted immediately and paramedics boarded the plane to render medical attention.
Delta confirmed the incident in a statement and said the dog and its owner eventually departed Atlanta on a later flight.
“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.”
Another passenger said that the crew saw the dog’s owner crying after the incident fearing that the dog would be put down as a result.
Veteran Atlanta-based flight attendant Jen Williams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year that she has seen a noticeable increase in support animals of late. While it’s not clear which travelers are flouting the rules, Williams believes there are more than a few bad apples.
“It’s definitely gotten carried away to the point where people are taking advantage of the system,” Williams told the publication.
“It’s hard when someone is following protocol and they’re not allowed to take the animal out of the cage, but others use the loophole to have an animal sit on their lap.”