Airlines no longer required to transport peacocks and horses as service animals

Airlines in the United States will no longer be required to accept emotional support animals after passengers in the past insisted on flying with their horses, pigs, turkeys and peacocks.

The United States Department of Transportation now states only dogs can qualify as service animals. Sadly, the unusual array of animals booked on flights had “eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals.” Airlines were forced to asked for help after some of the most peculiar animals were allowed to fly with their owners.

According to the new rule, service dogs are defined as “a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” The passenger will be required to provide the airline with documentation of the disability and that the dog is certified as a service animal.

All other animals will be treated by airlines as pets that can be placed in the cargo area for a fee although some pets, depending on their size and availability of room, will be able to travel under the passenger’s seat.

Previously there have not been any laws regarding emotional support animals which required airlines to allow them in the planes despite complaints from other passengers. Also, under the Air Carrier Access Act, the emotional support animals were allowed to fly for free.

Emotional support animals are not required to be trained to perform a specific task. Incidents involving harm to passengers have resulted in lawsuits against the airlines. In addition, the airlines will not be able to consider the dog’s breed in an airline’s requirement to accommodate the service animal. In the past, some airlines have denied “pitbull type dogs” to board a plane with the passenger. The new government policy is expected to change that decision for airlines.

Experts with the National Disability Rights Network state there are animals that may not perform specific acts “but may in fact lower the anxiety level of someone with an intellectual disability, autism or other kind of mental health issue where flying is very stressful and would be calmed by having a legitimate emotional support animal with them.”

The new rule is expected to go into effect in January 2021 and allows airlines to continue to allow emotional support animals onboard if they choose.

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook for the latest animal related news.


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1 reply
  1. Jan Barnes says:

    NO CATS EITHER??? A LOT OF THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE AND IS ALSO UNFAIR!

    HOPING MANY AIRLINES WILL CHOOSE TO CONTINUE BEING KIND, UNDERSTANDING AND HUMANE!

    Reply

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