Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday that the airline will no longer allow passengers to fly with “pit bull-type dogs” as service or support animals.
The airline said the new policy comes after several employees were bitten by a pit bull.
“We have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk,” Delta said in a statement.
The airline had already updated its animal policy in March, requiring anyone flying with an animal, including a service animal, to provide the animal’s vaccination or health records 48 hours prior to their scheduled flight.
Also as part of the earlier rule change, passengers flying with emotional support animals are required to sign a waiver stating their pets will behave while onboard.
Delta said it made these previous changes in response to an 84 percent increase reported incidents involving service and support animals since 2016.
The new pit bull policy will take effect on July 10. Each passenger will also now be limited to one emotional support animal.
Many organizations, however, are calling the move unjust.
Matt Bershadker, the head of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said the move “spreads false and life-threatening stereotypes.”
“Every dog is unique, even dogs within the same breed…,” Bershadker said in a statement. “In fact, pit bull type dogs have long been popular family pets, noted for their affection and loyalty.”
Delta carries approximately 700 service or support animals daily — nearly 250,000 annually.
“Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, spiders and more. Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs,” the press release also stated.