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Dept. of Transportation tightens definition of service animals allowed on planes

Dept. of Transportation tightens definition of service animals allowed on planes
Posted at 1:33 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 16:45:34-05

Say goodbye to emotional-support animals in airplane cabins. The Transportation Department issued a final rule Wednesday covering service animals.

The rule says only dogs can qualify, and they have to be specially trained to help a person with disabilities.

"This 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. It allows airlines to recognize emotional support animals as pets, rather than service animals, and permits airlines to limit the number of service animals that one passenger can bring onboard an aircraft to two service animals," the final rule states.

Those traveling with a service dog will be required to fill out a form from the DOT "attesting to the animal’s training and good behavior, and certifying the animal’s good health" before flying.

For years, some travelers have been bringing untrained dogs and all kinds of other animals on board by claiming they need the animal for emotional support.

Airlines believe some passengers were avoiding pet fees by calling their pets emotional-support animals.

The DOT proposed the change earlier this year and received more than 15,000 comments on the proposal, they said in a press release.

The new rules take effect in 30 days.