DOT: Split decision on emotional support animals

 

In a compromise ruling that just may satisfy most people and airlines, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued final rules on support animals in flight, including those listed as 'emotional support' rather than as service animals such as guide dogs.

The past year has seen a flurry of issues and rules, both by airlines and some agencies responding to widespread abuses of rules that allow emotional support animals to accompany passengers; the internet is full of ads for companies that will certify anyone's pet as a support animal, sight unseen.

However, some of the airline crackdowns were seen as also overriding legitimate service and support animals, with airlines asking that only trained dogs working with specific disability be included. and DOT was tasked with resolving the issues.

On the one hand, no honey badgers. Only dogs, cats and miniature horses will be allowed as service animals, one per passenger. The airlines were also told that they cannot specify what breed of dog will be allowed. On the other hand, airlines will be allowed to require documentation of the animal's vaccination, training and behavior, and can require documentation that the animal will not need to relieve itself in flight, or can do so without a sanitation issue.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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