Marlin Jackson and his family appreciate the support he has received and the requests for comment. Due to the severity of his facial injuries, Mr. Jackson is not comfortable speaking publicly at this time. When his recovery allows, Mr. Jackson may be available for interviews. Though Mr. Jackson is severely injured and will likely have permanent scarring, he is thankful that his seat was not filled by a child.
Mr. Jackson has obtained legal representation from J. Ross Massey of Alexander Shunnarah & Associates. Mr. Massey and his legal team are seeking information from Delta Air Lines regarding their compliance with policies for unrestrained larger animals within a plane’s cabin and the verification process of their emotional support animal training requirements.
“We understand and respect the importance of emotional support and service animals, especially for our nation’s veterans. We are also concerned with Delta Air Lines’ compliance with their policies to ensure the safety of all passengers,” stated attorney J. Ross Massey. “It is troubling that an airline would allow a dog of such substantial size to ride in a passenger’s lap without a muzzle. Especially considering the dog and its owner were assigned a middle seat despite Delta Air Lines’ policies that call for the re-accommodation of larger animals.
“We expect airlines to follow procedures as required and verify any dogs travelling unrestrained in the open cabin are trained for handling the large crowds and enclosed environments encountered on board an airplane.”
Marlin Jackson of Daphne, Alabama boarded a Delta Air Lines flight traveling from Atlanta to San Diego on Sunday, June 4. Mr. Jackson was assigned a window seat on the left side of the plane. When Mr. Jackson approached his aisle, passenger Ronald Kevin Mundy, Jr. was sitting in the middle seat with his dog in his lap. According to witnesses, the approximately 50-pound dog growled at Mr. Jackson soon after he took his seat.
The dog continued to act in a strange manner as Mr. Jackson attempted to buckle his seatbelt. The growling increased and the dog lunged for Mr. Jackson’s face. The dog began biting Mr. Jackson, who could not escape due to his position against the plane’s window. The dog was pulled away but broke free from Mr. Mundy’s grasp and attacked Mr. Jackson a second time. The attacks reportedly lasted 30 seconds and resulted in profuse bleeding from severe lacerations to Mr. Jackson’s face, including a puncture through the lip and gum. Mr. Jackson’s injuries required immediate transport to the Emergency Room via ambulance where he received 28 stitches. He is presently awaiting consultation with a plastic surgeon.
Mr. Mundy was moved to an alternate Delta Air Lines flight and his emotional support dog was placed in a kennel in the undercarriage.