Petition Gets United To Remove Ban On Pit Bulls, 8 Other Breeds

After United Airlines merged with Continental, it adopted its new spouse’s PetSafe program, which includes perks like climate-controlled transport and cargo holds, and the ability to track your pets’ whereabouts. But it also meant that nine breeds of dog, including pit bulls, were no longer allowed to fly United. Following customer backlash in the form of nearly 46,000 signatures on a petition, the airline has changed its tune.

“As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs,” the airline says in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.

The previously banned breeds are:
* American Staffordshire Terriers
* Ca de Bou
* Cane Corso
* Dogo Argentino
* Fila Brasileiro
* Perro de Presa Canario
* Pit Bull Terriers
* Presa Canario
* Tosa (or Tosa Ken)

But before you book your pooch on United, know that these breeds all require a reinforced container that meets IATA Container Requirement #82:

the container or crate must be constructed of wood, metal, synthetic materials, weld mesh or wire mesh. Additional design principles regarding frame, sides, floor, roof and doors also apply. No portion of the crate may be plastic. The crate door must be made of heavy wire mesh, metal or reinforced wood and should have a secure means of fastening that cannot be opened accidentally.

“I am thrilled that United listened to their customers and over 45,000 petition signers and changed their pet restriction policy,” says the creator of the petition. “This change is a victory for responsible dog owners everywhere at a time when many are facing breed discrimination. All dogs, regardless of breed, should be able to fly safely. The new requirement of reinforced crates improves the safety of the dogs and is something United should consider extending to all large dogs.”

For more info on which pets can and can’t fly United, go to


Edit Your Comment

  1. MrEvil says:

    I think the crate requirements are more than reasonable for both the safety of the animals and the airline personnel. With these big guys, they may be sweet and gentle at home, but they can be pretty strong just from the excitement of traveling.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      When you say excitement, I think you mean fear.

      • Difdi says:

        Depends. If the dog runs away from the vehicle it’s fear. If the dog beats you to the car, it’s excitement.

      • Lucky225 says:

        I got a fortune cookie yesterday that said fear is just excitement that needs an attitude adjustment ;)

    • MaddenSci says:

      It depends on the dog. It doesn’t make any more sense to discriminate against breeds than it does to discriminate against people.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        Uh… people don’t tend to have jaws like bear traps, and though they can flip out due to stress, it’s generally easier to subdue a human than a confused, frightened, and angry dogo argentino. Those boys are used to hunt wild boar, so one can be forgiven for taking extra precautions. Plus, that’s a total false analogy. Dogs are not people and therefore I can be as discriminatory as I like against any breed at all. Your logic is bad and you should feel bad.

  2. NickJames says:

    This just in! Entire cargo of animals gets slaughtered on United. One airline cargo mover was mauled in the incident after opening the cargo bay doors on the plane. One eye witness described the scene as “Horrible, worst thing I have witnessed in my entire life, there was blood everywhere!”.

    *JK I

    • kobresia says:

      The timeliness of this is kind of interesting, I was just reading an article from a local news site about a PBT mauling an old man after breaking through its owner’s home’s storm door.

      Just last week, there was a story in the same town of a PBT mix that a family had just adopted from the shelter, which wasn’t on-leash and tore apart a small dog whose owners were taking it for a walk.

      Well, anyway, probably won’t notice anything on the airlines, the sort of trash who own the most violent PBTs probably would just leave them chained to a stake in their yard for a few days if they had some traveling to do.

  3. ARP says:

    It’s too bad that Pit Bulls have been bred to be so violent. In Victorian England, they were called nanny dogs, because they were so docile- the were the labs of the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.

    • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

      Poor people are the reason we can’t have nice things.


      • kobresia says:

        I know you’re being sarcastic, but there’s an element of truth, since “trashy” is a subset of poor.

        Trashy people are why we can’t have nice things. They ruin everything, even things as overpoweringly awesome as the idea of a restaurant in which you can always find cheap, mostly edible breakfast foods at any time of the day or night, even through natural disasters.

        (NB: I am extremely biased against trash. At one time, I had a roommate who was pure trash, he trashed my house and threw his trash outside my front door rather than throwing it away properly, and that was just the tip of the trashy-problems iceberg)

        • Difdi says:

          I had one of those once. Nothing anybody said to him ever had any impact on him, he kept doing it. And then, somehow all his littered trash was bagged, stored, and when the volume got high enough, he came home one day to discover it had somehow filled his bedroom so full, he couldn’t get through the door…

          Oddly enough, none of the other four people sharing the house with him knew anything about it, it was a complete mystery…

          • kobresia says:

            Ha! I love it.

            I tried that sort of semi-passive thing to try to get him the message a few times.

            Like when he bought a brand new Crock Pot and cooked himself a large chicken, but didn’t clean-up afterwards. I left the remains of the chicken carcass in the crock, in the sink for what seemed like a month, but it was probably just over a week. I expected him to realize that it was horrible and to clean it up. I eventually just broke down and cleaned the foul mess up, and kept the Crock Pot for my troubles. I guess that living in a trailer in the deep south for a few years with a 5 gallon bucket as a toilet had just made him used to squalor and stench. He simply just didn’t care. That’s when I knew that I simply couldn’t win the battle against trashiness.

    • Bionic Data Drop says:

      At my local animal shelter, at least half of the adoptable dogs are always pit bulls. People think “Golly gee, those are cool looking, muscular dogs. I’ll get me one and everyone will think I’m King Shit.” and 3 months later, it’s at the animal shelter or chained to a tree 24 hours a day. Pit Bulls are terrific, incredibly loyal, and loving companions, but they need early training and socialization and people aren’t willing to put the time in.

    • DrunkenMessiah says:

      This was a large part of the original purpose behind breeding the Pit Bull Terrier in the first place. English farmers needed a guardian for their medium-aged children in large farming families where there would be up to a dozen (or more) kids running around at any given time. The very young children, 0-3 years old, would be in the house with mom. The older children, 12+ years old, would be out in the fields with dad or helping in the house with the chores/babies. This made the kids in the middle, 4-11 years old, left to their own devices. Anybody who knows kids realizes this is a recipe for disaster. Kids this age are strong and independent enough to get into serious trouble, but everyone older who might look after them where far too busy with their own tasks.

      Enter the origional Pit Bull Terrier. Muscular yet compact (never more than 50 pounds) they could go anywhere the kids could go. They would follow the rugrats everywhere, in and out of the house, through the woods, across water, into trees, the whole lot. If ever a serious threat to the children might arise the dog would be ever-prepared to present a MAJOR deterrent. If one of the children hurt themselves the Pit Bull’s swift legs and powerful bark could quickly raise the alarm. Otherwise they where their goofy-ass, lovable selves that many still are today.

      Its a damn shame what so many of them have been turned into. A human-aggressive Pit Bull Terrier is inherently broken. They are not like Dobermans or other guard dogs, they don’t have the machine-like trainability to prevent them from hurting people. A lack of aggression towards the two-legged was ingrained in their genetics, but some truly horrible bastards have managed to beat that trait out of a few of them. Cruel as it sounds, the only thing that will fix such Pits is a high-caliber bullet. It breaks my heart.

      All we can do is raise awareness. Maybe some day they can go back to what they where. Whenever I hear a bleak story about a PBT I like to look at the many old-timey photographs that exist which display a Pit with it’s beloved child that it lives to protect.

      One of my favorites:

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        So what you’re saying is that they were very docile, except in very specific circumstances in which they perceived a threat (which I’m assuming could be animal or human), then they went on the offensive, and had the temperament and build to back it up.

        And that’s different from today’s breed… how?

  4. SteveZim1017 says:

    Why do I picture the Crate that transported the raptors in Jurassic Park when reading that description.

  5. iesika says:

    “No portion of the crate may be plastic.” Good luck finding anything with no plastic on it.

    I’m amazed sometimes by which breeds get restricted, and which ones don’t.

  6. sigh says:

    Labrador bites a kid’s hand, not news.

    Pit bull bites anyone, news.

    It’s all confirmation bias.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      More like-

      Child tries to pet family’s cocker spaniel, gets hand mauled- not news.

      Child pokes, prods and teases neighbor’s pit bull through chain-link fence, sticks arm through fence & gets hand mauled- national news, BAN PIT BULLS!

      Total bias.

  7. RayanneGraff says:

    I’ve always hated the prejudice towards pit bulls. I have had pits in the past, I have a chihuahua now, and the chihuahua is the dangerous one. She has snapped & bitten me & my friends & family more times than I can count, but my pitties never so much as growled at anyone. Pits have a violent reputation because ignorant trashbag people raise them to fight or neglect them to the point where the poor dog goes nut, but when you raise them with love & caring, they’re the sweetest, most loving, loyal dogs ever.

    • JJFIII says:

      Your chiuaha does not have the capacity to KILL somebody. A pit bull is GENETICALLY designed to bite down and lock their jaw in. If your pit wanted you dead, you would be dead. Your chihuaha not so much

      • SabyneWired says:

        Um, you might want to check your facts.

        “The few studies which have been conducted of the structure of the skulls, mandibles and teeth of pit bulls show that, in proportion to their size, their jaw structure and thus its inferred functional morphology, is no different than that of any breed of dog. There is absolutely no evidence for the existence of any kind of “locking mechanism” unique to the structure of the jaw and/or teeth of the American Pit Bull Terrier.”

      • Bionic Data Drop says:

        The same can be said about just about any medium to large size dog. A Mastiff, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Doberman and on and on could kill a person if they wanted.

        That was a lab/retriever mix. You know, the two most popular and well behaved dogs in America? It was some B story buried on MSN. If that was a pit bull, it would’ve made national headlines.

      • wellfleet says:

        You are 100% wrong and need to check your facts. Pit bulls, or what people CALL a pit bull, since it’s not a recognized breed, are not capable, biologically, to lock their jaw. An angry lab, at more than 100lbs, could just as easily cause you serious harm.

  8. imasqre says:

    Pitbull owners are just as bad as breast-feeding mothers.

  9. SiddhimaAmythaon says:

    I am shocked caucasian’s (the dog not the race ) are not on this list. or course you also whould need a palet jack to move a carrier big enought to hold one.

  10. DrunkenMessiah says:

    Makes perfect sense really. United has had all kinds of bad press about killing dogs in transit. Might as well lift the ban on the breeds of dog that they will have a MUCH harder time killing. Its pure comedy when an airline like them allows big, bad, bully breeds like these, but then turns around and bans fragile breeds like pugs. I love it.

  11. Slatts says:

    What the hell is with some people? Oh, this horrible predjudice against a breed that is/was BRED to KILL. It’s not the poor little doggy’s fault, it’s the mean owners. Wrong. Mean, trashy owners makes the dogs meaner, but the breeding alone makes them plenty aggressive, even if they’re raised well.

    A good friend of mine adopted and raised a “Staffordshire terrier” (yeah, right — it was a pit bull). I suspect that this friend, a self-professed liberal, hated the “predjudice” againt this breed and wanted to prove to the world that they can be just as nice as any other breed if they’re raised right. I can attest that he spent much time and effort with that dog (he and I get along just fine as long as we avoid talking politics).

    Well, a year or so down the road, as he was walking walking the dog, no dought thinking, “That’s right, haters, see how nice these dogs can be if you treat them right?” a cat ran across the road in front of them. The dog snatched the leash out of his hand and took off after the cat which, unfortunately, froze like a deer in the headlights, allowing the dog to literally rip it to shreds before he could get there and stop it. When he tried to pull the dog by its collar to get if off of the cat, it turned and bit him on the hand. He said that it was like the damned thing was possessed. Only when the cat was dead and no longer fighting for its life did the dog calm down.

    So, no, this isn’t something I heard about third hand or on the internet — I didn’t actually witness the attack, but I got there shortly afterward, as the dog was being taken away by animal control, and know about the lawsuit the cat’s owner filed. This friend has, obviously, changed his mind about these breeds. He may be liberal, but he’s not stupid. :)

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      A lawsuit for what? $50 for the cat? Sadly cats and dogs are property in many states, and you can only sue for their value. Just like you can’t get pain and suffering if someone destroys your couch, you usually can’t get it for a animal either.

    • VintageLydia says:

      My friend’s husky also killed her mother-in-law’s cat. Your point?

      • VintageLydia says:

        I just remembered my uncle’s black lab (you know, the typical American family dog) killed TWO of my grandmother’s cats.

    • jimbo831 says:

      Wow, a story of a Pit Bull that attacked a cat. I am sure nowhere in the rest of the world will you find any stories of any other breeds of dogs attacking cats. Unheard of!

    • falnfenix says:

      what’s that? an animal that naturally hunts and kills other animals…hunts and kills another animal? SAY IT AIN’T SO.

      • kobresia says:

        That’s generally regarded as undesirable behavior in a domesticated animal, at least if it won’t obey commands to stop and turns on its owner who is attempting to intervene because it’s so obsessed with killing.

        • falnfenix says:

          and PLENTY of dogs, not just “aggressive” breeds, act that way.

          • Cor Aquilonis says:

            Witness: my golden retriever is the same to squirrels. She’s completely trustworthy, well trained, listens in every other situation… but if a squirrel gets too close… no more squirrel.

            That’s just how predators work.

  12. Patriot says:

    Our focus should instead be on banning the breeding of pit bulls until they’re extinct in this country. Way too many kids get mauled to death by those dogs. (I’ve worked in a trauma center)

    • jimbo831 says:

      You do realize that your anecdotal evidence is meaningless right. Have you ever heard of selective memory? Please find me statistics that support your claim instead of just because you said so.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        “Studies indicate that pit bull-type dogs were involved in approximately a third of human DBRF (i.e., dog bite related fatalities) reported during the 12-year period from 1981 through1992, and Rottweilers were responsible for about half of human DBRF reported during the 4 years from 1993 through 1996….[T]he data indicate that Rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities.” (Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC, Lockwood R. Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998. JAVMA 2000;217:836-840.)

        The Clifton study of attacks from 1982 through 2006 produced similar results. According to Clifton study, pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes were responsible for 65% of the canine homicides that occurred during a period of 24 years in the USA. (Clifton, Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to November 13, 2006;)

        1.According to a 20-year CDC (Center for Disease Control) study, from 1979 to 1998, Pit Bulls are responsible for over one third of all fatal dog attacks.

        Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States Between 1979 and 1998, by Sacks, Sinclair, Gilchrist, Golab and Lockwood, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2000. Link:
        1.According to a 3-year study covering 2006, 2007 and 2008, Pit Bulls are responsible for 59% of all fatal dog attacks.

        Report: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006 to December 2008, by, April 20, 2009( Link:
        1.Pit Bulls make up only 5% of dogs in the United Statesyet are responsible for far more deaths than ALL other breeds combined.

        Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S.& Canada, September 1982 to June 25, 2010, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, June 25, 2010. Link:
        1.The AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes 167 breeds of dogs yet 1 breed, Pit Bulls, kill more than all the rest combined.

        1.To illustrate the inherent danger with this breed consider an 85-day period covering most of July, August and September of 2008;

        * Pit Bulls made 127 attacks.

        * Injured 158 people,

        * 63% of the injuries were severe.

        * 10 of the attacks resulted in 15 severed body parts.

        * 6 people were killed.

        This based upon media reports across theU.S.

        “On Pit Bull Awareness Day, Releases Video of Attack Victims,”, October 25, 2008( Link:
        1.In the same 85-day period, Law enforcement officers and citizens shot 128 dangerous Pit Bulls and 12 communities’ enacted Pit Bull ordinances.
        In all of 2008, there were 373 incidents where law enforcement and/or citizens were forced to shoot dangerous Pit Bulls, 40% of these resulted in or from Pit Bulls Bites or Attacks. 3% also resulted in human injury from the shooting of the dogs.

        From 1982 to June 25th 2010 in the US & Canada Pit Bulls accounted for;

        * The majority of attacks causing bodily harm, 1654,

        * The majority of attacks on children, 733,

        * The majority of attacks on adults, 549,

        * The majority of deaths, 173,

        * The majority of people maimed, 905.

        Pit Bulls only make up 5% of the dog population. Again this highlights the fact that Pit Bulls Kill far more than all other breeds combined.

        Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to June 25, 2010, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, June 25, 2010. Link:
        1.The 1991 study of “which dogs bite the most,” often used to defend the Pit Bull breed, does not even include Pit Bulls in the study. The study was conducted in Denver where pit bulls are banned. The study is nearly 20-years old and determined that chained, male, unaltered dogs were the most likely to bite.

        Which Dogs Bite? A Case Control Study of Risk Factors (1991), by Gershman K.A., et al. JC., Pediatrics, 1994. 93:913-7. Link:
        1.Between 2006 to 2008, 88 people suffered death due to a fatal dog attack. Of these deaths, 16% involved chained dogs. Pit bull contributed to 59% (52) of these deaths. Of these 52, 13% (7) involved chained pit bulls.

        Report: U.S.Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006 to December 2008, by, April 20, 2009( Link:
        1.Even if the pit bull category was “split three ways,” attacks by Pit Bulls & Pit Bull mixes would still outnumber attacks by any other breed.

        Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to June 25, 2010, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, June 25, 2010. Link:
        1.Pit Bulls are noteworthy for attacking adults almost as frequently as children, a characteristic not shared by any other breed.

        Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to June 25, 2010, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, June 25, 2010. Link:
        1.Texas led the nation in dog attack fatalities in 2007 with 7 deaths, 6 of which were caused by Pit Bulls.

        “Texas leads nation in dog attacks,” Abilene Reporter News, July 12, 2008(
        1.Reports gathered across theU.S.indicate that Pit Bulls bite more than any other breed, this is a fact that those apologizing for the breed consistently deny.

        “Pit Bulls Lead “Bite” Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties,”, October 1, 2010( Link:
        1.In 1991, the United Kingdom (comprised of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) passed the Dangerous Dog Act to ban Pit Bull Terriers and a handful of other fighting breeds.

        Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, ( Link:
        1.Many foreign countries have enacted breed-specific laws to protect citizens from dangerous dogs and to stop the importation of fighting dogs (pit bulls). Countries include, but are not limited to: Argentina, Bavaria, Bermuda, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Guyana, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, Turkey, the UAE, United Kingdom, Venezuela and parts of Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and Japan.”
        The Pit Bull problem is worldwide.

        “Ecuador Joins International Trend: Bans Pit Bulls and Rottweilers as Pets,”, February 6, 2009( Link:
        1.There were nearly 300 Pit Bull attacks in Indianapolis last year (2009) according to Police spokesmanJeffDuhamell.

        Perhaps you also don’t think that smoking causes cancer?

  13. Sandy says:

    Oh for goodness sake. I don’t ever recall hearing of a vicious pitbull gnawing through its cage to unleash its fury on an unsuspecting chihuahua. However, I HAVE heard of incompetent airline employees causing the deaths of a dozen or so animals by their careless behavior in transporting pets…including somehow losing/releasing two dogs who were then run over by even more airline employees. Perhaps they need to ban idiots instead of dog breeds.

  14. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    How about we ban the owners and the trainers that MAKE these dogs vicious. No, it’s easier to blame the animals.

  15. ninabi says:

    Bad owners, poorly socialized, etc- the bottom line is certain breeds are involved in the majority of fatalities in dog attacks on humans. If some breeds need intensive training to be nice around people, most people are not dog trainers and there’s going to be problems.

    Was the airline banning certain breeds due to the concern over injuries to people handling the dogs or because a pit bull once got loose in AA cargo and chewed critical wiring in the plane, which could have resulted in tragedy? I would think the rules for reinforced cages would be for all breeds in that case.