Woman files lawsuit after emotional support dog attacks her 5-year-old in airport: report
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A woman is reportedly suing the owner of an emotional support pit bull and the municipal agency tasked with overseeing Portland International Airport after the dog attacked her 5-year-old daughter. 

Mirna Gonzalez filed a $1.1 million lawsuit on behalf of her 5-year-old daughter, Gabriella, on Monday, according to The Washington Post. The suit accuses both the dog's owner and the Port of Portland of negligence because the owner was allowed to bring the pet into the airport without a crate. 


The suit stems from a reported incident at the airport in December 2017, while Gonzalez was at a terminal with her children awaiting a flight to Texas. 

She had briefly stepped away from them to buy coffee. While she was away, her daughter, Gabriella, asked if she could pet a pit bull nearby.

The lawsuit says the dog bit Gabriella's face as soon as she tried to pet it. Gonzalez's attorney, Chad Stavley, told the Post that Gabriella had to have tear-duct surgery because of her injuries. The bite allegedly severed her tear duct and disfigured her upper lip, leaving her with permanent scars. 

Stavley told the newspaper that he hopes this lawsuit will provoke airports to review their policies on emotional support animals. He also said that he plans to look into whether the pet who bit Gabriella was a legitimate emotional support dog. 

The dog's owner, Michelle Brannan, has claimed that it is, reported the Post, which said it is unclear if she still owns the pet. 

"There’s a lot of abuse of this emotional support animal situation,” Stavley said. "And folks who have legitimate service animals — people who are blind and need guide dogs and the like — are kind of getting thrown into the same boat [as emotional support animals]. It shines a poor light on those folks.”

The dog involved in the incident was placed in the Multnomah County Animal Shelter and quarantined for 10 days following the attack, according to KATU 2. Port of Portland police had cited the owner at the time for not placing the dog in a crate.