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Airline crackdown on animals – but horses can still fly

March 12, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

American Airlines is tightening its policies on “emotional support animals” – the menagerie that airlines in the US are obliged to carry in the cabin – but which occasionally go berserk and attack people.

The latest changes, effective for travel on or after 1 April 2019, impose firmer definitions on what constitutes a service animal and/or an emotional support animal. A service animal, under the new regulations, may be a dog, a cat, or, in certain limited circumstances, a miniature horse.

Emotional support animals will be limited to either dogs or a cats – and a customer may bring only one. The days of bringing squirrels and live fish aboard may be over – on American, anyway.

From April, the airline will require a Veterinary Health Form, along with immunisation details, for any emotional support animal brought aboard. Pups, kittens and any animal under four months of age will no longer be allowed to travel as a service or support animal.

A couple of weeks ago, the mother of a five-year-old girl mauled in the face by a pit bull while waiting at an airport launched a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, the airline (Alaska Airlines) and the airport operator (the Port of Portland, Oregon, operator of Portland International Airport).

Pet potbellied pigs may no longer fly

For years, eccentric American laws have allowed a variety of animals to fly alongside their owners, provided the animals are needed for the owner’s “emotional support”.

Fish, squirrels and pigs have been brought onto fights (although rodents, spiders, birds and snakes are banned).

Airlines are fighting back.

Last October, a woman insisting she needed her squirrel for emotional support triggered the evacuation of a Frontier Airlines flight in Florida while the passenger and her “emotional support squirrel” were removed by security.

Peacock waits on luggage trolley in the USA. Peacocks no longer qualify as ’emotional support animals’

The flight was delayed nearly two hours.

Earlier last year, United Airlines turned away an emotional-support peacock at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The owner had wheeled her luggage to the check-in counter with the peacock perched on her shoulder and demanded that the bird should be allowed to fly with her.

Written by Peter Needham

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