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Saturday, 17 August, 2002, 05:36 GMT 06:36 UK
Airline bans 'over-aggressive' pit bulls
American Airlines
Don't try and fly American - if you're a pit bull
American Airlines have banned over-aggressive dogs, after a pit bull terrier caused havoc in the cargo hold on a flight from San Diego to New York.


It turns out the dog did quite a bit of damage

American Airlines spokeswoman
The Boeing 757 was out of service for nine days after the dog escaped from its cage and gnawed through electrical cables the thickness of a garden hose.

The crew heard repeated thumping in the hold and discovered back-up radio equipment and some navigation aids were not working.

The dog's overactive chewing did not cause damage to any vital systems, and the aircraft was not in any danger, the airline said.

As well as destroyed cabling, the masticating mastiff gnawed a hole in a bulkhead and damaged the cargo hold door in the incident last month.

Loose dog

The ground crew found the dog loose in the hold of the plan after landing.

Pit bull terrier
Was the dog or the cage to blame?
"It turns out the dog did quite a bit of damage," said American Airlines spokeswoman Tara Baten.

As a result, rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Staffordshire terriers and pit bull terriers have been banned.

Continental Airlines has already banned pit bulls.

The American Kennel Club said the ban was unjustified and called for it to be lifted.

"Regulations should not be based on breed identity. A dog's behaviour, and not its breed, should determine whether it is accepted for air shipment," said the club's chief executive, Alfred L Cheaure.

He said that a problem with the cage, not the dog, had been responsible for the problem.

But one Dallas breeder of Staffordshire terriers had some sympathy with American Airlines.

"It's pretty scary to have a dog come out of a crate and wreak havoc," said Carla Restivo.

So far, American Airlines has not yet sought damages from the dog's owners, who had paid $177.78 to send the animal across the US.

See also:

01 Jul 02 | 4x4 Reports
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