Emotional support animals are companion animals that help in all sorts of way people with disabilities. From mental health to physical conditions, they are trained to assist their beloved humans.
Traveling abroad ‘isn’t an easy thing for people with disabilities. At times, the idea of flying causes anxiety even to folks without everyday limitations. Emotional support or service animals are there to ease the stress and help their loved ones to pass the flight smoothly.
Recently, the U.S Department of Transportation has confirmed that miniature horses are still considered as service animals, hence, they can join their human pals in all cabins of commercial flight.
Last week, the agency made a statement that sets guidelines to which animals should always be allowed by the federal ‘government’s policy to join their companions.
Prior the U.S Department of ‘Transportation’s statement, all kinds of entities such as the Association of Flight Attendants have called legislators to change the service ‘animal’s rules so that people won’t use them in an unwanted way.
Some entities claimed that the reflection of the law on reality started to escalate to the point that it negatively affected the health and safety of other passengers.
The agency clarified that dogs, cats, and miniature horses are allowed. “After reviewing the comments on this issue, we believe that it would be in the public interest and within our discretionary authority to prioritize ensuring that the most commonly recognized service animals (i.e., dogs, cats, and miniature horses) are accepted for transport.”
“We stated that while we will focus on ensuring the transport of dogs, cats and miniature horses, we may take enforcement action against carriers for failing to transport other service animals on a case-by-case basis,” they added.
Furthermore, according to the document, folks are allowed to go on a flight with up to three animals while only one of them would be considered as an emotional support or service animal.
Both traveling with service or emotional support animals has been a controversial matter. When last year, United Airlines rejected a ‘passenger’s request to fly with its emotional support peacock.
Another emotional support animal story that received attention was about a woman who flew with Spirit Airlines. She claimed that one of the staff members suggested her to flush her hamster (Pebbles) down the toilet. She says that she was allowed to bring it to the flight as an emotional support animal. The staff member denied her accusation.
While Delta Air Line banned pit bulls from joining their companions on flights, the Department of Transportation rejected it. The agency clarified that ‘airlines’ staff member could prohibit specific animals from joining their owners in cases they are considered as a safety threat, but they cannot ban a whole animal breed.
While there are people who are in favor of emotional support and service animals on flights there are others who oppose it. We guess that it will probably always be a controversial topic.