(CBS) – Delta Air Lines is tightening its rules on emotional support and minors, citing "growing security concerns" that include a recent incident in which two workers were bitten.
The updated policy, which comes into force on July 10, restricts passengers to each an emotional companion animal and prohibits "pit bull type" dogs as service or companion animals on flights.
"These updates, which come in the summer high season, are directly the result of growing security concerns following recent incidents involving multiple employees," the airline said.
Several breeds of dogs are commonly defined as associated with pit bulls, including some terriers and bulldogs. Delta clarified his ban as "pit bull mixes".
The last incident occurred last week in Atlanta when " Two employees were bitten by a customer's emotional support animal, "a Delta spokesman emailed. "One employee received on-site medical treatment and the customer and animal were removed from the flight" bund for Tokyo, the carrier added.
The airline carries about 700 service or support animals each day, or nearly 250,000 annually. Delta said it has experienced an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service or companion animals, including urination and defecation, as well as an attack on a passenger by a 70-pound dog last June.
Delta said it wanted the safety of customers and employees, while also "supporting the rights of customers with legitimate needs such as disabled veterans, traveling with trained service and supporting animals."
Passengers have tried using turkey drinks, sliding opossums, snakes, spiders and more, Delta said, exclaiming those who "ignore the true intent of the existing rules".
The major US airlines have changed their policies on animal transport as airlines address health and safety issues affecting humans and pets. The incident included the death of a 10-month-old puppy in the overhead compartment of a United Airlines flight in March.