Animals can soothe fliers suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias. But air carriers are frustrated that many healthy passengers are abusing the rules, claiming their pets are therapy animals to fly them for free in the cabin.
It’s also an issue for passengers with allergies and crews who must deal with the critters. Some flight attendants complain cabins now look like barnyards. “The ‘emotional support animal’ situation is out of control,” Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at the Atmosphere Research Group, told TODAY. “Most passengers don’t want to be on an airborne Noah’s Ark.” As TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen found out, it’s easy to get a pet designated an emotional support animal. All you need is a special vest and an official letter from a mental health professional. Lots of websites offer certifications; all you have to do is fill out a questionnaire.
Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.
- Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
- In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.
The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (covered entities) that provide goods or services to the public to make “reasonable modifications” in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The service animal rules fall under this general principle. Accordingly, entities that have a “no pets” policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities. This publication provides guidance on the ADA’s service animal provisions and should be read in conjunction with the publication ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals.
Link: Emotional Support Pig
Source: Travel Industry News
Aviation Travel Writer: The Flight Times Blog