From the Desk of the Dog ~ May 10, 2018

An article in the newspaper over the weekend caught mom’s eye relative to service dogs and the airlines. Sam here. Mom has ranted blogged about this before (you can read about it HERE) and it continues to be a topic she holds near and dear to her heart. Far too many veterans have been hassled and made to leave too many businesses. If you ever want to push my mom’s buttons, just hassle a veteran and his service dog! Trust me when I say…it is not a pretty sight and comes complete with HBO words.

Student guide dog Max, a golden retriever puppy, walks the aisle of a plane during a training program at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey ~ Stephen Chernin, Getty Images file

In an article over the weekend indicating Congress is considering tightening the rules regarding service animals allowed on airplanes, Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) recently introduced a bill that “would align the definition of a service animal to fit the stricter regulations in the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).” Noting things have gotten completely out of hand after someone tried to bring a kangaroo onboard as a support animal, Burr said in a news release, the proposed rule would establish criminal penalties for falsely asserting a family pet is a “service animal.” Mom told me she’s witnessed first hand peeps trying to bring small purse sized dogs onboard as a therapy pet. This isn’t Noah’s Ark people! Earlier this year, Delta Airlines announced steps it will undertake in tightening procedures after passengers tried to fly with an assortment of “comfort animals” such as turkeys, snakes, and spiders. Excuse me? A snake is NOT a comfort animal in my books!

The proposed legislation has the backing of Airlines for America, the advocacy group for the airline industry and the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans. Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a creature that has been trained to perform specific tasks to assist people with disabilities such as seeing eye dogs. These so-called ‘comfort dogs’ do not fit into the legal description under this legislation.

Notwithstanding whether or not the House will take up this piece of legislation, do you think this is a step in the right direction?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

38 thoughts on “From the Desk of the Dog ~ May 10, 2018

  1. I get that people become close to snakes and kangaroos… and that they provide closeness missing in most human lives these days. I get it. But….
    just because you find comfort in a particular critter, doesn’t mean the world must allow them on every form of transportation. A little pill might have to accompany you on some flights instead of your pet rat. Most people are not trying to impose but they might not think about the person’s needs sitting next to the snake on board. “Miss? Could I possibly change seats? NOW”

  2. Great post! Genuine service animals for the disabled are truly special. It’s disturbing to hear that people falsely passing off their pets as “emotional support” animals (just so they can travel with them in the cabin) could be making things harder for people who really need service dogs to accompany them.

  3. Mom and I totally agree. There should be a clear definition of what a service animal is and an ID card or documentation that the animal has met the requirements of the definition. Owners should be required to produce that documentation, just like a person has to produce ID when they’re stopped by a cop. Mom NEVER lets me be mis-identified as a service animal.

    Love and licks,

    1. Sadly, you can easily ‘buy’ a certification online which is why the issue is so messed up for those who need it the most. Like you, I correct people who presume Sam is a service dog. Nope, he’s just a therapy dog, I tell them. And a knucklehead before that. 😊

  4. It is a step long overdue. The way it works now, any paying customer that protests the bogus “service” animal gets kicked off the plane.. the saying ‘give them an inch and they will take a mile’ has been around for a long time.

  5. Mecca must have had some issues with lawsuits a while back, because about ten years ago, our policy changed whereby store management had the right to question whether an animal being brought into the store was a service animal or not, but could not refuse to admit an animal so long as the customer answered in the affirmative. I figured that opened the doors for customers to bring whatever the hell critters they wanted into the store so long as they said claimed them to be service animals. Unfortunately, it’s one of those civil rights liabilities that corporations feel the need to bend over backwards to cover their behinds because the legal definition of a service animal isn’t well defined, and likely varies from state to state…

    1. It is specifically a violation of the ADA to ask for proof but many places still do it. If airlines didn’t charge a small ransom to ship pets, you wouldn’t have people trying to game the system but saying “little Fifi is my comfort dog and I have to have her travel with me.” Not that I’d every ship any of my dogs with the abominable record airlines have in that area, but still I’ve seen some horrible little dogs being brought on board planes. As a flight attendant, I wouldn’t be very keen on cleaning up after a dog that got loose on a plane and barbed or worse either. The real service dogs I have flown with have been exemplary and far more well behaved than most of the passengers.

  6. What does government have to do with it? Let the airline decide. The plane is the property of the airline. If you don’t like the policy, fly an airline that shares your preference. The market will sort things out.

    1. No, the courts would sort things out, and that would be even worse. Discrimination lawsuits over denial of “service” animals have happened in the past, and that’s why there needs to be a strict legal definition to protect the companies that don’t want customers bringing the menagerie along with them to their business…

  7. It burns me up when I see/hear stories of ill-behaved dogs being misrepresented as service dogs. And angers me even more when a person with a legitimate service dog is harassed, refused entry or service, and otherwise disrespected. I have to agree with Colin – and you. The people I worry about getting caught up in the mess are those who truly need their TRAINED emotional-support animals. Because those dogs are not listed as true service dogs due to their person not being physically disabled in some way, they could be denied access to many of the services a person with, say, a seeing-eye dog.

    1. Which is all the more reason, Congress should address this issue in a thoughtful and fully informed manner. Which makes me wonder since Congress hasn’t seemed to be very thoughtful of late.

  8. First, I agree with what everyone has said here. However, I think this country has gone way overboard on coddling children and excluding dogs. Give me a good dog on a plane any day over a screaming toddler. Oh, and don’t get me started on what health risks do dogs pose in a restaurant! (none)

    1. Amen, Amy. My recent flight home from my was filled an entire band of squalling, bratty kids. Thankfully it was only a 2 1/2 hour flight, I may have been arrested if it had been longer. I don’t understand why the parents of these miscreants aren’t more considerate of those around them.

  9. It’s very frustrating to witness a service dog and his person being questioned on their legitimacy. ADA compliance is the law regarding service dogs and the boundaries are being pushed in an irresponsible way by people with untrained dogs. I recently talked to someone who was forced to leave a restaurant with their service dog, they left in order to avoid a scene, but immediately reported the restaurant and their failure to comply with ADA laws. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time they’ve had to report someone.

  10. Sadly, rules are necessary to protect the responsible citizens from those that abuse “the system”. To many people “lie, cheat and steal” their way through life with their only thought being themselves. (e.g. If everybody drove responsibly, we would not need speed limit signs and highway patrol vehicles).
    Given the circumstances of air travel, it would appear to be a good thing the limitations are being considered. It is hoped that the legislators do their research and cover the numerous types/duties of service dogs.
    It is my hope that one day, dog restrictions in restaurants and other food-service businesses here will be lifted to include all dogs, and that the business operators be given the right to evict the owners of unruly/disruptive dogs, just as they would unruly/disruptive people. 🙂

    1. Precisely. I’ve read too many stories of veterans with PTSD have been humiliated by being asked to leave a restaurant with their service dog. It’s doubly shameful after what they’ve been through to have yet another obstacle to deal with…prejudice.

  11. I hear ya… all our pets are a kind of service animals because they are our soul mates… but please dear peeps respect the rules for service animals and never misuse that… all who really need a helping paw have to pay for incorrect behavior at this front.

    1. Right. I’d love to be able to bring Sam with me everywhere but respect the rule of law that he is not a service dog and must stay out of most plays. People who truly need 4-legged assistance shouldn’t be punished for peeps who try to convince others their pet is legit

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