Disabled Vet Says United Employees Kicked His Service Dog, Asked Him If He Was Retarded

The founder of a group that places service dogs with disabled vets says he went through a 48-hour ordeal at Dulles airport outside Washington, D.C., this week and that not only did United Airlines employees kick his service dog twice, but one staffer actually insulted him in public.

In a detailed YouTube video posted earlier today, Paws and Stripes’ Jim Staneck claims that the first kick happened while he was in line at the ticket counter. An employee walked by and was startled by Jim’s service dog, which allegedly led to a light kick to the dog’s ribcage.

Rather than cause a scene, Jim said he let the incident go.

His flight was then delayed and ultimately cancelled because of mechanical delays, meaning a second day at the airport, where he had originally only intended to spend a short time making his connecting flight.

While riding a shuttle during his second say of fun at Dulles, Jim says that a second, startled United staffer kicked his service dog, this time with some substantial force.

“[He] kicked her so hard on the rib cage, that she flew into my lap… He said he was afraid of dogs,” Jim tells KOAT-TV.

Things only got worse when Jim, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has a traumatic brain injury, had difficulty reading a confirmation e-mail on his phone and asked a United representative to assist him.

“He said, ‘Just read it’ and I said, ‘Sir I can’t read it,’ and he said, ‘What are you retarded?'” recalls Jim. “Prior to this I told him I have a brain injury and PTSD, I’m a disabled vet, this is my second night here; I need help.”

Jim says he would like to talk to the CEO of United just to discuss the proper way to handle both disabled customers and their service animals.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.