Pit Bulls, Other Breeds No Longer Banned on United

Jessie Huart and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix. (Courtesy Jessie Huart)

An online campaign to lift a ban on certain breeds of dogs on United Airlines has succeeded.  A total of nine breeds, including pit bulls, had previously been banished from the airline.

The banned breeds (and breed mixes) were  pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, preso canario, perro de presa Canario, dogo Argentino, cane Corso, fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and ca de bou.

The effort to lift the ban on the breeds began when Jessie Huart was making plans to move from Hawaii back to the mainland in December 2011. When she and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix, had moved to Hawaii, they flew on United. That was before United had adopted Continental's  Pet Safe  program as part of the carriers' merger.

"I had heard great things about Pet Safe and was making plans to fly on Continental. But then I saw that pit bulls were on the banned breed list," Huart said. She filled out an email form online and then made reservations on another airline. But in late January, she recounted the story to a friend who suggested she start a petition on Change.org, the same site that got Bank of America to lift its proposed debit card fees. She did, with the goal of getting 1,000 signatures.

Nearly 46,000 signatures later, Huart is "thrilled" the airline has changed its policy. She believes dogs should be judged individually, not on breed. "To have a major airline like United repeal a breed-specific ban is so huge," she said. She hopes legislators will see what United has done and reconsider laws that she believes discriminate against certain breeds.

"As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs traveling in a nonplastic, reinforced crate meeting International Air Transport Association Container Requirement #82. All IATA Container Requirements can be found on IATA.org. Information on breeds and other policies can be found on united.com, " United Airlines said in a statement to ABCNews.com.

Will she fly on United again? "Absolutely," she said. "I was a frequent flier on United, and I'm looking forward to flying them again."