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Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Humane Society of the United States to Delta Airlines: Service animal restrictions are misguided and harmful

WASHINGTON (September 24, 2019)—Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Humane Society of the United States are expressing deep concern in response to Delta Airlines’ announcement that they will continue to prohibit pit bull-type service dogs, despite a recent Department of Transportation guidance that airlines may not prohibit service dogs based on the breed or physical appearance of the animal.

The DOT, in a guidance document last month, said it "views a limitation based exclusively on breed of the service animal to not be allowed under its service animal regulation.” It said airlines had 30 days to comply.

“Delta’s decision to maintain its discriminatory ban on pit bull-type dogs as service dogs is misguided and will hurt countless individuals,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “We continue to offer Delta and all airlines our support to implement alternatives that keep the skies friendly for people and animals alike.”

“Delta is flouting the Department of Transportation’s guidance and setting a barrier for carrying pit bull-type dogs, “said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We applaud DOT, which acted in accordance with its regulations by issuing this guidance and we urge all airlines to comply by not excluding pit bull-type dogs.”

HSLF and the HSUS have long maintained that it is inappropriate to use an animal’s estimated breed as a determining factor for whether an animal poses a direct threat to others. Scientists, animal professionals and experts agree there is no evidence that one breed of dog is more dangerous than another. With advances in science and our increasing knowledge about a dog’s DNA and its relationship to appearance and behavior, we now know that a dog’s breed is a complex issue that does not neatly translate into predictive behavior patterns and unfairly discriminates against thousands of responsible pet owners.

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The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at, on our blog at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.