And now for something completely different, a bit of good news out of the travel sector. This applies to one of my personal pet peeves… getting on a plane only to see someone with no apparent visual impairment or other disabilities sitting in the next seat with their “emotional support” dog. Or a cat. Or a bird. Those days may be coming to an end, however. The Department of Transportation is preparing new rules that will limit such animals in the plane’s cabin to only specially trained dogs and, even then, only with proper verification from an actual doctor. Praise the Lord and pass the emotional support bunny rabbit. (NBC News)
The U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed new rules that would reign in the menagerie of service animals passengers have been carrying on flights under the guise of being service animals – the new rules would only allow specially trained dogs to fly under the service animal designation.
If this rule takes effect, the DOT would be cracking down on passengers using the loophole to travel with pets, effectively grounding miniature horses, turkeys, cats and various other critters that travelers have brought aboard flights as service animals.
While insisting that it “recognizes the integral role that service animals play in the lives of many individuals with disabilities,” the DOT said in a statement its new proposed rule is aimed at “reducing the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claims their pets are service animals.”
As the NBC report goes on to point out, this problem has become increasingly common in recent years. In 2013 the DOT processed just over 700 passenger complaints about aggressive or unruly animals on airline flights. In 2018 there were more than 3,000 such complaints.