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Lack of Common Sense in Aviation Industry Again Leads to Serious Injury of Passenger

Yet another tragic incident involving a major airlines due to the lack of exercising common sense has led to the tragic injury of a passenger that could have been avoided.

It has been reported that a male passenger was mauled in the face by an emotional support dog that was seated in the middle seat with its owner on a Delta flight Saturday (June 3, 2017).

Delta Flight 1430 was getting ready for takeoff from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International when a male passenger seated by the window was attacked by an emotional support lab-pointer mix dog seated next to him. The 50-pound-plus animal reportedly served as an emotional support animal to a veteran. It also was reported that the dog was seated on the owner's lap.

For no apparent reason and without provocation, the dog began biting the other passenger, causing severe injuries to his face. Witnesses said the man's face was completely bloody with blood in his eyes, cheeks, nose, mouth and his shirt was covered in blood. He required medical attention and had to be removed from the flight. The dog owner and his dog were placed on a later flight where the dog was placed in a kennel, according to media sources.

"Airline personnel have got to demonstrate more common sense when dealing with passengers who rely on them for safety and comfort," said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, an internationally-recognized aviation firm. "We can no longer tolerate story after story of airline personnel exercising poor judgment that leads to the serious injury of innocent people."

"Muzzling the dog, putting him in a bulkhead seat with more space or in an area where fewer people are seated, if possible, obviously were not considered as options. What could the flight attendants possibly be thinking in putting passengers and a dog on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego? Putting the animal in such a constrained, restrained and uncomfortable environment for several hours points out the lack of clear thinking on the part of airline executives in providing clear rules that provide for the safely to all passengers."

These types of pets - from pigs to cats - are becoming increasingly common on flights with an estimated 100,000 animals riding in passenger cabins each year, according to USA Today. Delta's website says it "complies with the Air Carrier Access Act by allowing customers traveling with emotional support animals or psychiatric service animals to travel without charge" if they comply with certain conditions and provide required documentation.

Clifford is available to speak to the press on this incident. In his 40 years of practicing law, he has represented victims and their families of nearly every major commercial airline crash in the United States. He also initially created the law on overbooking, having represented a retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice and his wife 40 years ago when they were bumped from a flight from Chicago's O'Hare Airport to Florida. A trial resulted and the couple received $208,000, and the case led to aviation rules for passengers when being bumped from flights.

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For further information or to speak to Robert Clifford, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell). www.cliffordlaw.com

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