United Airlines: Remove Breed Discrimination from Pet Policy
  • Petitioned Jeffery A. Smisek

This petition was delivered to:

CEO, United Airlines
Jeffery A. Smisek
Director of Customer Care
Anne Seeley
Senior VP of Marketing
Mark Bergsrud
PetSafe Program
Manager, United Pet Program
Lisa Schoppa

United Airlines: Remove Breed Discrimination from Pet Policy

    1. Jessie Huart
    2. Petition by

      Jessie Huart

      Kettering, OH

  1.  
  2.   
May 2012

Victory

United Airlines, the world's largest air carrier, has removed an embargo on nine breeds of dog they deemed "dangerous" based on appearance rather than the dogs' behavior. The policy shift comes after more than 45,000 people signed a petition started on Change.org by Jessie Huart when her 10-year-old pit bull, Slaw, was denied travel. Petition signers included military families, show dog breeders, dog trainers, veterinarians, and dog lovers and travelers around the world. The campaign was also supported by Best Friends Animal Society, which runs the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Jessie is grateful for the widespread support for the campaign and thrilled with the outcome, which she calls "a victory for responsible dog owners everywhere."

Update 3/14/12: After tens of thousands of messages were sent from petition signers, United Airlines made a superficial change to their pet policy page. The airline continues to discriminate against the same nine breeds and singles out those breeds alongside their right-to-refuse any individual dog who displays aggressive behavior. The only change they made was in the name of the discriminatory policy, removing the word "dangerous."

Please continue urging United to remove its discriminatory breed restrictions!

__________

United and Continental Airlines have merged and United has adopted Continental's discriminatory pet policies. The airline's PetSafe program enforces a pet policy with a Dangerous Dog Breed Restriction, which defines a dangerous dog solely by his breed. This restriction prevents responsible owners of Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and several other breeds from flying with their pets on United Airlines. 

United Airlines is the only airline in the U.S. with a breed-specific dangerous dog restriction. Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and dozens of other experts across the country oppose such breed-specific policies.  A dog is an individual with his own unique personality and should be judged based on temperament, not on appearance or breed.

Please sign this petition to let Jeff Smisek, CEO of United Airlines, know you do not agree with their discrimination and that you encourage them to remove the breed restriction in their dangerous dog policy.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Pit Bulls, Other Breeds No Longer Banned on United

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      An online campaign to lift a ban on certain breeds of dogs on United Airlines has succeeded. A total of nine breeds, including pit bulls, had previously been banished from the airline. ... The effort to lift the ban on the breeds began when Jessie Huart was making plans to move from Hawaii back to the mainland in December 2011. When she and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix, had moved to Hawaii, they flew on United. That was before United had adopted Continental’s Pet Safe program as part of the carriers’ merger.

    2. Come fly the friendly skies -- as long as you're not a pit bull

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Veterinarian/Blogger Dr. V writes: "Ah yes, BSL rears its ugly head once again. I’m not going to go into a huge dissertation about breed specific policies here because I think most of you already know this, but here’s the bottom line: these types of policies are ineffective in reducing dog bite injuries and serve no useful purpose."

    3. United Airlines' breed ban is a big step backward in customer service

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      From Best Friends Animal Society: "This policy doesn’t only affect people traveling with the family dog. Best Friends and many other rescues routinely transport dogs to new adoptive homes via the airlines, and we were hoping that the United-Continental merger would result in breed-neutral policies being adopted by both airlines. But as it stands, many dogs helped by Best Friends Animal Society would be denied transportation to their new homes, thereby complicating their placement and slowing admission of other dogs to the Sanctuary and our shelter rescue programs."

    4. Reached 40,000 signatures
    5. United Airlines bans transport of certain breeds of dogs

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      "...But some pet owners say the ban is a discriminatory practice. Jessie Huart says she learned of the ban while trying to book a ticket to travel with her 10-year-old pit bull, Slaw. She started a petition at Change.org to encourage airline officials to remove the breed restriction in their dangerous dog policy.

      '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,' the petition site says."

    6. Military families speak out against United's breed ban

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Mary Seward-Yamada, who runs Camp Canine Okinawa, a service that arranges pet transportation for troops, said pets left behind by their American owners in Japan are usually euthanized quickly unless they are rescued.

      “Pit bulls get bad press,” she said, calling United’s policy discriminatory.

    7. Many shelter dogs mislabeled 'pit bulls'

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Investigation by the Toledo Blade calls into question policies that judge dogs based on appearance.

    8. United Airlines bans "bully" breeds, critics fire back

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      "A Denver-area group, Team Pit-a-Full, is in the midst of gathering signatures on a petition supporting pit bulls. Denver has banned pit bulls since 1989. The group belives pit bulls have been unfairly stigmatized as dangerous.

      The leader of the group, David Edelstein, released a statement on the new United policy.

      "We neither endorse nor support businesses that discriminate against breeds of dogs based on appearance or public stigma. In our opinion, it is obvious that United Airlines was put in a position by their (most likely, small breed) customers to take a stand on policy for transporting certain large, muscular, broad jawline type breeds. The vilified breed lost, while the all mighty dollar won, again.""

    9. United changes policy name ... but not the policy

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      After receiving tens of thousands of messages from petition signers, United quietly changed their website to remove the word "dangerous" from the header of their restricted breed policy. The policy itself hasn't changed, which means the airline continues to classify dogs as dangerous based solely on breed, continuing to judge dogs on appearance rather than behavior.

    10. Reached 30,000 signatures
    11. Skies get a little less friendly at United

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      "Does merging make a company meaner, stupider, or just more of a bully?

      United, which recently joined forces with Continental Airlines, has opted to adopt the defunct airline’s backwards pet policy. The new policy is stated on this page of United’s website."

    12. Reached 25,000 signatures
    13. United Airlines Just Got a Lot Less Dog Friendly

      Laura Goldman
      Petition Organizer

      ..."Jessie Huart discovered the policy when she was trying to book a ticket to travel with her dog, a 10-year-old pit bull named Slaw. She was told by the airline that because he's a pit bull, Slaw couldn't go, so she started a petition on Change.org to ask United to treat all dogs equally, regardless of breed."

    14. Reached 20,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Julia Kirby JACKSON, WY
      • 12 months ago

      NO ONE should put their dog in the undercarriage of a plane. Besides supermodel Maggie Rizer's dogs dying on a United flight, now there is another instance. Do your research. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200795683403132&set=o.1404915649744773&type=1&theater

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    • mihaela stoica ANN ARBOR, MI
      • over 2 years ago

      please don`t reduce a whole breeding line to a case of canine discrimination.simply request a doc behavioral test instead.or have a trained specialist at the check in available for all companies maybe?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • mihaela stoica ANN ARBOR, MI
      • over 2 years ago

      please don`t reduce a whole breeding line to a case of canine discrimination.simply request a doc behavioral test instead.or have a trained specialist at the check in available for all companies maybe?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Shelley Mokas CINCINNATI, OH
      • over 2 years ago

      People NEED to do their reseach about Pits, Staffordshires, or any other "dangerous" breeds before being IGNORANT about the ACTUAL temperament of these dogs. Are people aware Pits & Am Stafs were considered "nanny dogs" back in the day & they are great with children? Do people realize they are now used for search & rescue AND therapy dogs--not only in hospitals, but in public libraries and elementary schools; letting children read to them? I will advocate for these breeds until the negative and WRONG stigmas are no longer attached!

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    • CASEY VENEZIA EUNICE, LA
      • over 2 years ago

      Its not at all about the breed its all on how the dog is raised!! I have always owned pitbulls and have raised them with my children and not one of them showed any signs of aggression!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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