The mother of a five-year-old girl has filed a lawsuit after her daughter was attacked by an emotional support dog at the Portland International Airport. Other defendants named in the case are the dog’s owner and Alaska Airlines. The lawsuit claims that the airport allowed a dangerous breed of dog, a pit bull, to be in the airport without a carrier.
The details of the attack
According to the lawsuit, the attack took place in December of 2017. The girl who was attacked, Gabriella Gonzalez, was five years old. The lawsuit states that Gonzalez was waiting with her family for a flight when the dog attacked her for no reason. The family’s lawyer released a photo that showed the girl’s face covered in cuts. Mirna Gonzalez, the girl’s mother, said in the lawsuit that Brannan should have known that the dog had “vicious tendencies.”
The lawsuit went on to state that the girl suffered injuries “to the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and soft tissue of her face, eye, eyelid, tear duct, and lip” and those injuries “required surgery to repair complex facial lacerations and a damaged tear duct.”
Gonzalez goes on to claim in the lawsuit that the dog should not have been allowed in the waiting area at the gate since it was not properly trained as a service animal and was not in a carrier. This is why the airline was named as a defendant in the case. According to the rules at the airport at the time of the attack, emotional support animals were to be confined to a carrier, and the dog was not in any type of carrier.
Airport changes its rules for emotional support animals
The airport decided to change its rules regarding emotional support animals six months after the attack occurred. According to a spokesperson from the airport, the rules were changed to better reflect the requirements of each individual airline that operates out of the airport. The new rules for owners of animals are as follows:
- Trained service dogs are permitted inside the airport at any point during the day.
- Any other animal, including ones used for emotional support, can only be in the airport if they are being shipped via air or are traveling with their owner.
- These animals are required to be in carriers at all times, unless using the area designated for pet relief.
- If the emotional support animal does not fit inside a carrier, it must be carried by the owner as much as possible.
- If this is not possible, the animal must be on a leash that extends out no more than three feet from the owner.
- Every animal that enters the airport is required to be trained and kept in control. The animals are also to be kept away from any dogs working security or with the police.
If your child was bitten by an emotional support animal, he or she may be entitled to compensation. Protect your child’s rights by speaking with an experienced Chattanooga premises liability attorney at Wagner & Wagner. The firm represents clients in the Chattanooga, Cleveland and surrounding communities, and throughout North Georgia. Call the office to schedule a consultation at 423-799-3532 today or fill out the contact form, and a member of the firm will contact you as soon as possible.