As the service species and the emotional support of animals become more diverse, airlines have had to make some hard decisions. Birds, monkeys, and snakes from aircraft were banned from boarding with passengers, but more traditional pets such as dogs based on their breeds were rejected. A new US Department of Transport (DOT) rule aims to change this. As Travel + Leisure reports, the agency now prohibits airlines from discriminating against certain breeds of service dogs, including pit bulls.
Last year, Delta banned all flying bull bulls, regardless of whether animal therapy is confirmed or not. Last year, United Airlines banned pitfalls, as well as 20 other dog breeds, including pugs, bulldogs, mastiffs, and shih tzus.
Under the new DOT guidelines, these policies are not legal. The statement reads: "The Department 's Enforcement Office considers that a service based animal breed restriction will not be permitted under its service animal regulation. The Enforcement Office intends to use available resources to ensure that dogs are accepted as a species for transportation. "
The new rule applies specifically to service animals, or animals trained to do a job that is essential to the welfare of their owner. Emotional support animals, who do not require special training and are not covered by the Disability of Persons with Disabilities Act, do not qualify.
Even if a pet is a certified service animal, airlines have the right to refuse them in certain cases. Air travel companies can request documents relating to vaccination, training or animal transport history. If they find anything in the papers that shows that they are not safe to fly, airlines can turn them on that basis.
In the same statement, the Department of Transport clarifies the species of service animals that should be allowed on flights. Small horses are now on the service list.
[h/t Travel + Leisure]
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