HOUSTON (KTRK) --An emotional support dog is meant to be comforting. But a Houston couple says an airline crew felt intimidated and ultimately kicked them off their flight.
This all happened Saturday when US Army veteran Janae Fowler was boarding a Spirit Airlines flight from Denver back home to Houston. She tells us her dog has flown with her more than six times and there was never a problem until Saturday.
"He relaxes me," Fowler said. "He makes me smile. He calms me down. He makes me feel everything's going to be OK."
Last week Fowler and her boyfriend, Cecil Mullenweg, went to Colorado to visit some of her old Army friends.
"The flight out was great. Spirit was good to us all the way out to Denver," Mullenweg said.
But when Fowler tried to board the return flight, she says a flight attendant changed things up.
"Basically she said, 'Oh hell no.' I said,'What's wrong?' She said, 'Is that a pit bull?' And I said, 'Yes, ma'am, it's a pit bull and a chocolate lab.'"
She tells us she got to the back of the plane and another attendant asked to see Ziggy's paperwork.
"Now she's on the phone and she's saying 'an emotional support animal isn't a service animal. A service animal is for someone with real disabilities.' And I felt insulted because there are veterans in the world that have disabilities you can't see," Fowler said.
The couple tells Eyewitness News Spirit put them on a United Airlines flight back to Houston later that night.
"But my thing is you trust me to go on another flight but not this flight. It's wrong, period. The whole situation was wrong. And I just want to advocate for me and my dog," Fowler said.
In a statement Tuesday, a Spirit Airlines spokesperson disputed Fowler's version of events. The entire statement is below:
- "According to the report from the flight attendants: The dog was very aggressive and growling at other customers as Ms. Fowler and the dog were boarding the aircraft. Once Ms. Fowler was in her seat, the dog continued to be unruly. So much so that she had to wrap the dogs leash several times around her arm just to keep the dog close to her. Ms. Fowler was asked to control her dog, or she would be asked to leave the aircraft. A few minutes later several other customers approached our flight attendants and reported that the dog continued to be aggressive and had a foul odor. The customer sitting next to Ms. Fowler complained that the dog was taking up some of his space in his seat. The complaining reached a point that it was then decided it would be best to put Ms. Fowler and her dog on another flight to Houston. Spirit paid full fare for her to fly another airline to accommodate Ms. Fowler and her dog."