This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation finally decided that enough is enough. In recent years, airplanes have become a veritable menagerie of strange animals – psychic kangaroos, emotional support iguanas, therapy alligators, and everything else you can imagine. Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating the problem a bit…but probably not by much. When you get on a plane to find out you’ll be sitting next to a miniature horse (NOT an exaggeration), things have spiraled out of control. On Wednesday, the DOT put its foot down.
“The Air Carrier Act defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability,” reported the agency. “The DOT no longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal.”
According to Politico, the agency was compelled to change the rules after “a litany of complaints from airlines and flight attendants alike about people bringing unusual animals — including pigs, gerbils, turtles and birds, among others — on board that they claimed were for emotional support.”
Emotional support pigs, really? On an airplane? When did Americans get so damn fragile?
The new restrictions, according to the Daily Mail, “will force passengers with emotional support animals to check them into the cargo hold—and pay a pet fee that generally runs more than $100 each way—or leave them at homes.”
The DOT guidance follows action already taken by some of the major airlines. NBC News points out that Delta refused to board a passenger in 2018 when he wanted to bring a peacock on the plane with him. Later that year, American Airlines banned “amphibians, ferrets, goats, hedgehogs, spiders, sugar gliders, waterfowl and animals with tusks, horns or hooves.”
Now that the Department of Transportation is cracking down on this idiocy, we’re ready to see stores do the same. Every time we turn around, we’re confronted with some obviously untrained dog in the aisle at the supermarket. Protip: If the owner is constantly having to berate the dog into behaving, that dog is in no way trained to be a service animal. And if you can’t get through a trip to Publix without your emotional support puppy, you’ve got problems that a dog can’t solve.
Stay home, pet your goat, and get your groceries delivered.