I sometimes wonder who the decision-makers are when it comes to large companies making controversial or discriminatory decisions that seem to set them back 10 years in terms of moral progress. So when I became aware of a recent decision from United Airlines that banned particular dog breeds from flying on their planes, I was taken aback and fully surprised that United would single out nine different breeds to include on their “No-Fly” list.
As an engaged community member of the website Change.org
, I was made aware of this issue and I signed the petition
in support of dogs being able to fly regardless of breed. An average dog owner named Jessie Huart was blindsided with news of this policy when she attempted to book a ticket to travel with her 10-year-old pit bull named Slaw. The airline told her that because shes a pit bull, Slaw wasn’t permitted on the flight. Apparently this policy took action last week when United merged with Continental Airlines, making it the world’s largest air carrier and the only US-based airline that labels some dog breeds as “dangerous”.
So long story short, the way a dog looks is the basis for banning particular dogs from flying with their owners. This may be an obvious statement, but there could be dogs that are not part of the nine banned breeds who could be more aggressive than any of the ones on the list, based upon the dog’s upbringing and personal history. For example, a Chihuahua could be a rescue and was abused or traumatized and therefore be more aggressive than a “bully breed” dog who was brought up consistently with affection and raised properly.
These types of policies are opposed by every major dog-related organization. The American Veterinary Medical Association
and the National Animal Control Association
argue that physical appearance isn’t an effective way to predict or address aggression. These kinds of discriminatory policies fuel the misconceptions about bully breeds and lead to the deaths of thousands of innocent dogs. In addition, our country’s only statewide breed discriminatory law was repealed in Ohio just last month.
While United and Continental still work out their merge, the company is listening closely to customer feedback, which is why dog-lovers and United/Continental Airline customers should sign Jessie Huart’s petition
. It’s time to send a strong message to other companies and lawmakers that breed discrimination should not be tolerated.
The bottom line here is: it is a bad idea to discriminate based on breed and physical appearance of a dog to be a good candidate for flying. Maybe, the airlines could find a different way of certifying the dogs for flight based on a behavioral test of some sort. It is simply unfair to label entire breeds to be dangerous, aggressive, or unfit for flight with their families. The other important concept to internalize here is speaking up for what you believe in. I highly recommend becoming a member of change.org
. Real difference has taken place via this medium of signing petitions and I know Bank of America had to change their rate hike on debit/credit cards recently due to one young lady who decided to speak up and organize a petition online.
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About the author: Kevin Opos is the Director Marketing of dealwagger.com, having graduated with a B.A. in Communication from UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis in Media Marketing. Residing in Los Angeles, CA, he has shared-custody of 2 dogs and is dedicated to supporting animal rescue organizations & the prevention of animal abuse by giving a voice to those who cannot speak.