WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) – The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to ban emotional support animals on planes.
This would mean no more exotic animals and limit it to specially trained dogs.
Some travelers have brought peacocks, pigs, and iguanas on planes.
The Association of Flight Attendants says the days of Noah’s Ark in the air are coming to an end and the U.S. Department of Transportation is looking to crack down on the abuse of the system.
“I think it’s bogus. I know some people have post-traumatic stress things and military guys, and I totally appreciate that, but if you show up with an alligator or something to that effect, I think it’s just abusing the people that actually need it,” said Donnie Donner.
At Bradley International Airport, flyers reacted to a proposed ban to limit the types of animal entitled to fly in aircraft cabins.
In recent years, passengers have tried to pass off animals such as peacocks, squirrels, and even wanting pigs to fly as emotional support animals.
Now, the industry is trying to crack down on what many view as a scam intended to enable pets to fly for free.
“For me, I have allergies to some animals, so I’m a little concerned about that and it does seem that the types of animals that they are allowing, some of them are going a little bit too far,” said Loretta Reed.
In the proposal, the department stated, “animals on aircrafts may pose a risk to the safety, health, and well-being of passengers and crew and may disturb the safe operation of the aircraft.” It also cited data that showed “increase in the number of behavior related service animal incidents on aircraft, including urinating, defecating, and biting.”
Veterinarian Andrea Dennis, who is also a Connecticut state delegate for the American Veterinary Medical Association will be weighing in on behalf of the state on the issue saying, while many animals might provide emotional comfort, it is a fine distinction to be actually trained as a service animal.
“Because they can get a letter or even go online and say this is a certified support dog, or cat, or any other animal. People need to be comfortable, but when you start abusing the system, that is why people are stepping in and trying to establish some real guidelines,” Dr. Dennis said.
The U.S. DOT says it’s considering expanding the proposal to include miniature horses but is concerned they are less agile in the confined spaces of an aircraft.
The airlines will ultimately make the call on what animals can board, but gaming the system will not be tolerated.
If you have an opinion on this issue, the U.S. DOT is seeking public comment on the issue. People have 60 days to weigh in. Click here for more information.
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