SAN DIEGO — A Delta passenger who says he was mauled by an emotional support dog has filed a lawsuit against the airline and the dog's owner, a Marine combat veteran.
In June 2017, Marlin Jackson claims he boarded a San Diego-bound flight in Atlanta headed for a work conference. Soon after, fellow passengers watched in horror as a dog attack played out in front of them.
Jackson sat in a window seat. In the middle seat was a Marine veteran was with an emotional support dog, a chocolate lab pointer mix, in his lap. According to a Jackson's lawsuit, while he was securing his seat belt, "the animal began to growl."
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Jackson claims the dog's owner, Ronald Mundy, reassured him that the dog was safe. But moments later, he said the dog lunged and bit Jackson several times in the face .
The lawsuit states the dog was briefly restrained, before pinning Jackson against the window and mauling Jackson again, resulting in 28 stitches and permanent loss of sensation in his face. He bled so profusely that "an entire row of seats had to be removed."
The incident sparked national headlines, and tighter policies for emotional support and service animals. For example, Delta now requires proof of training, adding rules for the types and ages of the animals, as well the duration of flights that allow emotional support animals.
Delta declined to comment citing pending litigation. We reached out to Mundy, but our calls went unreturned.