Policy/Biz

Federal Government Proposes Tighter Regulations For Service Animals On Planes

According to a new release by the U.S. Department of Transportation, it’s reportedly currently in consideration as to whether it should tighten the regulations for taking service animals aboard planes. The consideration comes amid a barrage of customer complaints and lobbying from affected airlines that all say the current regulations surrounding the issue is somewhat too lenient.

If it pushes through with the decision, the U.S. Department of Transportation will no longer be requiring airlines to see emotional support animals the same as service animals. Furthermore, it also plans on requiring additional paperwork for service dogs, which was met with distaste from some advocates of disabilities, since it would only make life more unnecessarily inconvenient.

Emotional Support Animals On Planes

In the last few years, numerous incidents have occurred where people attempted to fly with emotional support animals that are considered to be exotic, such as a squirrel or even a peacock. As such, these spate of incidents have resulted in people raising their concerns with the current regulations, even saying that it’s too prone to abuse and very permissive.

"What it's caused is a number of safety, health and security issues onboard our aircraft, which has led to minor things like animals loose in the cabin to very serious safety issues where untrained animals have attacked flight attendants or other passengers or other legitimate service dogs," Taylor Garland, a spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, who believes that there are people who bring emotional support animals when they clearly don’t need them, said.

In a statement, the department also gave service animals a stricter definition, stating it as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or to perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability."

And while some people are onboard with these proposed new regulations, some believe that the definition is too narrow, with a few stating that there are many legitimate reasons as to why a person may use an assistance animal, even if that reason is very specific to them only.

As of now, the public have two months to comment on these new changes.

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