Dogs-Only Policy as Airlines Seek New Rules for Service Animals

The U.S. Transportation Department has announced plans to tighten rules around service animals on airplanes. The biggest change: only dogs could qualify as service animals allowed on-board.  That means that passengers turning up at the airport with cats, rabbits, birds, pigs, pheasants, turkeys, snakes, miniature horses and other unusual pets currently allowed on-board will either need to find alternative arrangements for those animals or will be refused entry onto airplanes.

The proposal would also prohibit airlines from banning particular types of dog breeds — Delta Air Lines bans pit bulls, for example – but airline employees could refuse to board any animal that they consider a threat to other people.

Airlines could also require that service animals be on a leash or harness and fit in its handler’s foot space. They could limit passengers to two service animals each.

It would also bar the current practice by many airlines of requiring animal owners to fill out paperwork 48 hours in advance. A department official said that practice can harm disabled people by preventing them from bringing their service dog on last-minute trips.

Flight attendants had pushed to rein in support animals and were pleased with the announcement of the proposed changes.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed changes, and they could take effect any time after that.


Source: Associated Press