US & Canada

Emotional support pit bull 'mauled girl at Portland airport'

Gabriela Gonzalez was petting the dog when it attacked her, the lawsuit claims Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Gabriela Gonzalez was petting the dog when it attacked her, the lawsuit claims

The mother of a five-year-old girl mauled in the face by an "emotional support" pit bull at Portland's airport has filed a $1.1m (£800,000) lawsuit.

Mirna Gonzalez says her daughter Gabriela suffered permanent injuries when another passenger's dog bit her as they waited to board their plane.

The legal action against the dog-owner, Alaska Airlines and the airport says the incident was on 18 December 2017.

It says the dog was not in a crate after passing through security.

"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," says the legal action, adding that the family was on their way to Texas.

The lawsuit says the dog owner, Michelle Brannan, should have known her dog "possessed vicious propensities".

It also blames the airport and airline for creating "an unreasonable risk of harm to the public" by allowing the dog into the passenger area without being inside a crate.

A spokeswoman for the Portland airport told the Oregonian newspaper that airport employees may only ask a passenger if their animal is trained for service and what service it provides.

"The traveller need only answer those questions and we're required to accept the answer," said Kara Simonds.

Alaska Airlines and Ms Brannan have not commented on the case. It's unclear what happened to the dog.

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