5-year-old mauled by pit bull at Portland airport, lawsuit states

5-year-old mauled by pit bull at Portland airport, lawsuit states

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Robert Lindeman

Alaska Airlines is being sued after after a 5-year-old girl’s family says she was mauled by a  pit bull at the airline’s gate in Portland back in 2017. The Port of Portland and the owner of the dog are also named in the $1.1 million suit, which was filed on Monday.

The lawsuit states Gabriella Gonzalez, was waiting with her family for a flight on Dec. 18, 2017, when Michelle Brannan’s pit bull attacked her at an Alaska Airlines gate. Brannan’s pit bull was not in a crate when the animal went through the Alaska ticketing process and passed through Port of Portland security, the lawsuit states.

“Ms. Brannan claimed the pit bull was an emotional support animal,” according to the lawsuit. 

“As a result of the incident, Gabriella Gonzalez suffered injury to the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and soft tissue of her face, eye, eyelid, tear duct and lip, as well as emotional trauma; all of which injuries, and the consequences of them, are permanent and have caused her to suffer non‐economic damages…  $1 million,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in the circuit court of the state of Oregon, in the county of Multnomah.

According to the suit, Gonzalez needed surgery “to repair complex facial lacerations and a damaged tear duct, and has incurred medical expenses and will incur future medical expenses” of $100,000.

The lawsuit contends Brannan is liable for Gonzalez’s injuries. 

The suit accuses Brannan of creating “an unreasonable risk of harm to the public” by taking the dog to the airport. It also accuses the Port of Portland and Alaska Airlines of being negligent. 

Alaska Airlines updated its policy on emotional support animals last year: “We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals,” the airline stated.

And it’s not the only airline to make changes recently. Delta has banned emotional-support animals on long-haul flights.

The Port of Portland said in a statement to USA TODAY: “We’re refraining from commenting about the details of the pending litigation.”

Alaska Airlines declined to issue a statement on the subject to both The Washington Post and the Oregonian. USA TODAY has reached out to the airline for comment. 

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