A man who was severely mauled by an emotional support animal on a Delta flight in 2017 is suing the airline and the dog’s owner for damages. An in-depth reading of the suit delivers some disturbing takeaways about the future of air travel for both humans and animals.
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“This thing has gotten out of hand,” said Jeff Younggren, a psychologist and clinical professor at the University of New Mexico, who has conducted several studies on the subject of emotional support animals.
The number of passengers flying with emotional support animals on the nation’s airlines has surged. United Airlines, one of the biggest carriers, saw a 75% increase last year compared with 2016. The trend has been accompanied by more incidents of animals urinating, defecating, biting, barking and lunging on planes. A passenger was even mauled by a 50-pound dog on a Delta flight last year.