Passengers Protest After Blind Man and Dog Removed From Plane

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A U.S. Airways flight was canceled after passengers protested that a blind man and his seeing-eye dog had been kicked off Wednesday evening, according to the airline and local media reports.

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Albert Rizzi and his guide dog, Doxy, were removed from a Southwest flight after becoming ‘disruptive,” the airline said. (Credit: CNN)

Albert Rizzi, who lives in Long Island, N.Y., said the trouble began after he boarded the flight from Philadelphia to Long Island’s MacArthur Airport and the seat in front of his didn’t have stowage space for his guide dog, Doxy.

A flight attendant insisted that Doxy stay under a seat, and other passengers offered their spaces. But after the plane spent more than an hour on the tarmac waiting to take off, Doxy curled up under Rizzi’s legs, he told WPVI-TV. He then got in another argument with a flight attendant. “Mr. Rizzi became disruptive and refused to comply with crew member instructions when the flight attendant asked him to secure his service dog at his feet,” U.S. Airways said in a statement to Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV.

“I took offense to that,” Rizzi told WINS radio. “My dog is not to be stowed, he’s not an inanimate object. This woman just did not want to understand that sitting on a plane for an hour and a half for any human is uncomfortable. The dog was just antsy and wanted to get comfortable.”

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