Remember that time when people were trying to pass off all sorts of creatures as emotional support animals to bring them on airplanes? From peacocks to tortoises, goats to monkeys, and even turkeys, it seemed like anything could be labeled as “emotional support” to justify its presence.
Becoming Strict With In-Flight Animals
Airlines have become more strict in recent years, drawing clear distinctions between genuine service animals and those that people want to bring on board for companionship.
The Difference in the Dog’s Behavior
A TikTok video from @finnianthegoldie, who travels with a legitimate service dog, went viral.
Her Dog and a Non-service Bulldog
In the video, her golden retriever, identified as an actual service dog, is approached by a non-service bulldog who eagerly sniffs and tries to interact.
She Tries to Separate the Two Dogs
Sensing the need for separation, she raises their leg to create a barrier between the bulldog and their golden retriever while the bulldog’s owner promptly pulls their pet away.
Emotional Support Animals Are Not Service Dogs
She quoted the US Department of Transportation, stating that emotional support animals and dogs in training are not considered service animals under the Air Carrier Access Act.
She Expressed Her Concern
She expressed concern over encountering “service animals” that pose a risk to their own dog due to the lack of training and sudden transformation of emotional support animals into service animals since the law changed in 2020.
Concerns for the Safety of Service Dogs
They also mentioned a video they saw of a 5-month-old puppy flying as a fully trained “service dog” after the owner obtained online certification from a scam website.
It Sets a Bad Example
This misuse of service dog policies sets a bad example and raises concerns about the safety of legitimate service dogs.
Importance of Properly Trained Dogs
She emphasized the importance of properly trained service dogs and the negative impact of faking service dog status, both in terms of breaking federal law and creating reluctance from businesses to accommodate genuine service dogs.
Pets Should Be Transported Under the Plane
She also highlighted that emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and they should be transported following the airline’s pet regulations and paying applicable fees.
Airline’s Pet Regulations
They referenced recent laws allowing airlines to limit the number of service animals per passenger, requiring service animals to fit within the handler’s foot space, and refusing transportation to service animals exhibiting aggressive behavior or posing a threat to others.
The Clear Distinction
Many people, including those with trained emotional support animals, acknowledge the clear distinction between emotional support animals and service dogs.
Sharing the Same Experiences
Some shared their experiences of encountering people trying to pass off pets as service dogs at airports, but it was evident that these animals lacked proper training as they easily got distracted by their surroundings.
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