Readers of this personal injury blog may not be aware that there is a difference between service animals and emotional support animals. While service animals are capable of performing necessary tasks for their handlers, emotional support animals are companions who help manage the emotions of their handlers. Service animals have rights to enter certain places in order to accommodate their handlers’ needs, while in many cases support animals do not have those rights.
Support animals may, however be allowed on aircrafts when their handlers must fly and are stressed by the experience. Massachusetts residents may have seen dogs, cats and other creatures in-flight with their handlers or in local airports as they prepare to board their airplanes. Not long ago an emotional support animal caused serious and painful injuries on a child when it attacked the youth in an airport waiting area as the handler and child waited to board.
The 5-year-old child suffered damage face and eye when the uncrated pit bull attacked. She had to undergo surgery to repair harm to the muscles and tendons of her face, as well as to repair damage to the tear duct of her affected eye. The airport where this incident happened allegedly had a rule in place that required emotional support animals to be in crates and the family of this young victim alleges that the animal was not contained when it attacked.
This unfortunate story highlights the danger that can happen when individuals fail to recognize the dangerous propensities of their pets and take no action to prevent those animals from causing others harm. This young victim may suffer permanent and painful losses for years to come and therefore, with her family, she has sought to recover her animal attack-related damages.