HUD asks FTC to investigate websites selling assistance animal documentation

Recently, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson wrote to Chairman of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Joseph J. Simons and Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection Andrew Smith requesting that the FTC investigate certain websites that may be selling assistance animal documentation.

“These certificates are not an acceptable substitute for authentic documentation provided by medical professionals when appropriate,” said Secretary Carson. “These websites that sell assistance animal certificates are often also misleading by implying that they are affiliated with the federal government. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their goal is to convince individuals with disabilities that they need to spend hundreds of dollars on worthless documentation to keep their assistance animal in their homes.”

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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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