WWBT - A woman from Richmond says her dog is now in a different state because American Airlines wouldn't allow the PIT BULL on the plane. Keiko Carter says Dallas, her emotional support dog, was stigmatized for his breed and wearing a muzzle in the airport. However, American Airlines employees report the dog was showing signs of aggression, which is why it wasn't allowed on the flight.
Carter is now at her new home in California, while Dallas is being boarded at a vet in Richmond.
"The flight was a huge anxiety trigger, which is why I wanted to make sure I went through the proper channels to get (Dallas) taken care of for the flight," said Carter.
Carter says she filed all the required paperwork to bring the dog on board with passengers, ahead of time. She flew out of Richmond Tuesday, intending to bring her pit bull on board with her into the cabin. Carter says she put a muzzle on Dallas, to keep him from eating anything on the floor, which he tends to do.
However, Carter says American Airlines employees stopped her, right before boarding, and unfairly pinned Dallas as dangerous because of the muzzle. "(The employee) basically said that they already decided that he wasn't going to fly. And I said, 'Well, what's the problem?' She said, 'Well, he has on a muzzle.'
A spokesperson for American Airlines talked to employees involved in the incident. The airline issued the following statement, claiming employees saw the dog lunge at someone:
"American Airlines employees at Richmond International Airport, along with the crew of flight to Dallas/Fort Worth, were concerned that this animal would pose a threat to the safety of our customers and employees. The decision was made to not allow the animal to fly in the cabin of the aircraft. American had also received reports that the animal lunged during the security screening process. We do apologize for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and employees are our top priority. Our team has offered to provide a full refund to the passenger."
Carter says Dallas had not shown any aggression at any point, and laid down during the TSA security check.
American Airlines offered a full refund, but Carter chose to take a later flight. She says she's saving money so she can afford to get Dallas to California.
"They discriminated him based on his breed. And that's not fair to him because he didn't do anything to anyone," said Carter.