The world’s largest airline has backpedaled on an embargo of nine breeds of dogs it had previously deemed dangerous. Following a petition drive on Change.org that quickly collected more than 45,000 signatures, United will now allow the previously banned breeds to fly, provided that they are securely crated.
Hawaii resident Jessie Huart started the petition drive after she was told that her 10-year-old pit bull was banned from future flights for the sake of the safety of other travelers. United was the first and only US-based airline to label breeds “dangerous”.
“I am thrilled that United listened to their customers and over 45,000 petition signers and changed their pet restriction policy,” said Huart. “This change is a victory for responsible dog owners everywhere at a time when many are facing breed discrimination.”
Specifically, the revised policy states that:
“United will accept the following breeds of dogs once they have reached either six months of age or 20 pounds (9 kg) in weight (whichever comes first) only in a reinforced crate meeting International Air Transport Association (IATA) Container Requirement #82.** Please note: This includes mixed breeds of these dogs.
American Staffordshire Terriers
Ca de Bou
Perro de Presa Canario
Pit Bull Terriers
Tosa (or Tosa Ken)
Determination of breed, age or weight of the animal is to be confirmed by the animal’s Health Certificate (dated within 10 days of transport). Additionally, United reserves the right to refuse any animal that displays aggression or viciousness at the time of tender.
**IATA Container Requirement #82 states that the container or crate must be constructed of wood, metal, synthetic materials, weld mesh or wire mesh. Additional design principles regarding frame, sides, floor, roof and doors also apply. No portion of the crate may be plastic. The crate door must be made of heavy wire mesh, metal or reinforced wood and should have a secure means of fastening that cannot be opened accidentally.”
Just last month, Best Friends Animal Society urged United to think twice about banning breeds.
“We welcome this enlightened decision, which will immeasurably benefit pit bulls, pit mixes and other dogs,” said Gregory Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. “It demonstrates an understanding that while dogs of these breeds may be strong, they still can be safely handled and transported when treated well.”
Huart said the new policy is a welcome change. “All dogs, regardless of breed, should be able to fly safely,” she said. “The new requirement of reinforced crates improves the safety of the dogs and is something United should consider extending to all large dogs.”