No More ‘Undocumented Animals’ on the Plane
Here's how one airline is trying to corral the stampede of emotional support beasts boarding with passengers
American Airlines reportedly announced new guidelines that restrict what passengers can pass off as emotional support animals.
Sorry, hedgehogs and goats … you’re out.
The new rules take effect on July 1. The Chicago Tribune reported that passengers will have to submit documentation 48 hours before their scheduled departure, and a mental health professional must sign off.
The list of animals banned include amphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, nonhousehold birds and animals with tusks, horns or hooves, according to the paper.
Passengers with trained service animals will not be impacted by the protocol changes. Miniature horses trained to be service animals will still be allowed to fly, the paper reported.
American spokesman Ross Feinstein told the paper the airline sought feedback from disability advocate groups before announcing the new measures.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced similar policy changes earlier this year, which tightened their regulations on emotion support animals by requiring passengers to provide special documentation for service animals trying to board a flight.
— Mark Essig (@mark_essig) October 16, 2016
While federal regulation requires airlines to permit service animals to accompany passengers with disabilities in their seat, there has been a growing number of concerns about the type of animals passengers have been bringing on board — including comfort turkeys and gliding possums.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced new legislation in April to correlate the definition of a “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act with that of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The move would create criminal penalties for those misrepresenting their animal as a trained service animal, in addition to requiring federal agencies to lay out behavioral guidelines for service animals working on an aircraft.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is proposing an amendment calling on the U.S. Transportation Department to clarify existing policies.
This Fox News article is used by permission; Fox News’ Michelle Gant and Janine Puhak contributed.
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