Veteran claims she was kicked off Spirit flight because support dog looked mean

HOUSTON -- 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.

A spokesperson for Spirit Airlines says they're looking into these allegations and will be able to tell us more soon. But he says in general, a flight attendant can't make a decision to kick someone off a plane. The captain would make the final decision, and there would need to be good reason, like a dog barking or growling. He says it's a lot more work for a flight attendant or gate agent if they need to remove a passenger from a flight, so they usually do what they can to make it work.
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