The grim effect Delta’s ESA lawsuit will have on travel

A man who was severely mauled by an emotional support animal on a Delta flight in 2017 is suing the airline and the dog’s owner for damages. An in-depth reading of the suit delivers some disturbing takeaways about the future of air travel for both humans and animals.

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Delta says no to medical assistance puppies or kittens and any emotional support animals on long flights

Effective December 18, 2018: Service and support animals under four months of age are not allowed on any flight due to USDA vaccination requirements. Additionally, emotional support animals are no longer allowed to be booked on flights longer than eight hours. If you purchased your ticket prior to December 18th and have requested to travel with an emotional support animal, it will be ok to travel as originally ticketed.

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Miniature horses are welcome as service animals, but monkeys are a maybe, according to U.S. airline regulators

Miniature horses are in, for now. But capuchin monkeys are on shakier ground.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Wednesday that it will work to make sure “the most commonly used service animals (i.e., dogs, cats, and miniature horses)” are still allowed on flights, despite increased efforts by airlines to crack down on fraudulent assistance critters of all kinds.

Reports of maulings, allergic reactions, faked medical necessity forms and other abuses have poisoned the environment for responsible travelers who legitimately need service animals. The problems have spurred major airlines, including Delta, United and Alaska, to tighten their rules for psychiatric service animals and emotional support companions.

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Collared: New laws crack down on fake service dogs

Last month, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, signed into law a bill making it illegal for people to misrepresent their pets as service animals, under which pet-loving perps are subject to a $100 fine and a misdemeanor charge. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed a nearly identical bill, under which those “fraudulently misrepresent” service animal can be fined $250.

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Is that dog (or pig) on your flight really a service animal?

David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University and editor in chief of its Animal Legal and Historical Center, said fraudulent cases eroded trust about service animals.

“There are many thoughtless, ignorant or arrogant people out there who only think of themselves,” he said. “Abuse is everywhere.”

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