Local official speaks on ESA travel ban

The December ruling in Air Carriers Access Act says emotional support animals are no longer to be considered as service animals. One local says its good news for those with service pets.
Domestipups

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The U.S. Department of Transportation banned emotional support animals from flying. We spoke to a local expert on how this impacts service pet owners.

The December ruling in Air Carriers Access Act says emotional support animals are no longer to be considered as service animals. One local says it’s good news for those with service pets.

“Actually, I was very excited by it because there’s been a lot of issues over time with people taking their emotional support animals which don’t require any training,” said Michelle O’Dea, executive director of Domesti-PUPS. “A lot of it was just people wanting to take their pets on a flight with them on vacation or on or where ever they were going and that was not the idea behind it. So many people were taking advantage and then negative things occurred and that causes issues for people with legitimate service animals.”

She says it validates those with service animals to fly after some took advantage, taking their pets on flights. Those new rules do only include service dogs, and they have to be able to fit within the handler’s foot space.

“For our clients with actual service dogs, the changes in the law affect them because now there’s a form that you have to fill out 48 hours before your flight and that includes information on the health behavior and training of the dog,” said O’Dea. “So that was not a requirement before. They have to physically check-in at the airport versus the online check-in process.”

The official says emotional support animals are becoming more popular, and now people may try to get psychiatric service animals, those can still fly. She says she hopes these new rules help those with service animals, especially those with disabilities, travel a bit easier.

 

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