PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) — A mother has filed a $1.1 million lawsuit against the Port of Portland after 5-year-old daughter was mauled by a pit bull at Portland International Airport. She's accusing the airport of letting a dangerous "emotional support animal" into the airport without a carrier.
Alaska Airlines and the dog's owner, Michelle Brannan, are also defendants in the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, the girl's mother, Mirna Gonzalez, claims Brannan should have known that her dog had "vicious propensities."
In December 2017, Gabriella Gonzalez, who was five-years-old at the time, was waiting for a flight with her family when the dog allegedly attacked her. A photo released by the family's lawyer shows her face covered with cuts.
According to the lawsuit, the girl had injuries "to the muscles, tendons, bones, nerves and soft tissue of her face, eye, eyelid, tear duct, and lip." Those injuries "required surgery to repair complex facial lacerations and a damaged tear duct."
In the lawsuit, Mirna Gonzalez says the airline is at fault for allegedly allowing Brannan to bring a dangerous dog into the gate waiting area, where the attack happened, when the dog wasn't a trained service animal and wasn't properly confined.
At the time of the attack, airport rules said emotional support animals needed to be in a pet carrier. The lawsuit says this dog was not.
KATU News attempted to reach Brannan for comment. Alaska Airlines declined comment, citing pending litigation. A Portland International Airport spokesperson also declined comment.
The airport changed their rules for animals in June, six months after the attack. Steve Johnson, an airport spokesperson, told KATU News they changed the rules to fit better with what individuals airlines require.
According to the Port of Portland, these are the basics animal-owners need to know: