Fly the friendly skies, unless you are a dog breed classified as “unfriendly” by United Airlines. A recently updated pet flying policy ensures that pets can fly on United’s cargo service, which offers same day, airport-to-airport delivery with features designed to ensure an animal’s comfort and safety. However, the policy still carries the same outdated, uneducated breed restrictions as the old Continental Airlines policy. United Airlines’ PetSafeŽ program places restrictions on the following breeds, including mixed breeds of these dogs:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Presa Canario
- Perro de Presa Canario
- Dogo Argentino
- Cane Corso
- Fila Brasileiro
- Tosa (or Tosa Ken)
- Ca de Bou
Additionally, United reserves the right to refuse any animal that displays aggression or viciousness at the time of tender. While I can completely understand this refusal, discriminating against a dog based on its breed, rather than it’s behavior analysis, is no different than discriminating against a person based on their color rather than their actions. Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mixes don’t even get to fly in the back of the plane. While United Airlines changed their recent policy so that they are no longer called “dangerous”, they are still discriminated against and are restricted from flying the “friendly” skies.
On National Pit Bull awareness day, I wrote about the negative stigma attached to the breed and the monster myths about Pit Bulls. United Airlines’s discrimination policy is only helping to creating bigger myths around this sweet natured breed. I’m not at all opposed to temperament testing, but to decide a dog’s temperament based on anything besides their behavior and history is intolerant, biased, and uneducated. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also oppose breed-specific policies.
What do you think? Should United Airlines ban certain breeds from flying in cargo or on board? (Currently service animals are allowed on board as well as pets that fit completely under the seat forward of the customer, providing they remain in their crate during the flight.) If you think breed discrimination should be removed from United’s PetSafeŽ Program, please sign the petition.
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