During a time when emotional support animals are needed more than ever, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that it is revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transportation of service animals by air to ensure a safe and accessible air transportation system.
Under the new rule, airlines will now recognize emotional support animals as pets, rather than service animals.
As per the DOT, the Traveling by Air with Service Animals final rule “defines a service animal as a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”
Much to the dismay of people worldwide who rely on their emotional support dogs, the DOC claims that they are no longer recognized as service animals “because providing emotional support, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks.” Ridiculous.
The ruling also means that airlines are no longer required to accommodate other service animals, such as: miniature horses, cats or rabbits.
The rule continues to allow airlines to limit the number of service animals to two per a single passenger traveling with a disability. Airlines can require that service animals be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times in the airport and on the aircraft. When onboard the plane, the service animal must fit within its handler’s foot space. Airlines may also still refuse transportation to service animals that exhibit aggressive behavior or that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
The Department reportedly received more than 15,000 comments on the notice of the plan. The final rule announced today addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircrafts.
The final rule will be effective 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
Answers To Frequently Asked Questions about this final rule, can be found, HERE.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg