A small dog with an "ESA" sign in a suitcase

The fur is flying in pet-people clashes in the skies

A small dog with an "ESA" sign in a suitcase
Image found at: https://www.nsarco.com/flying-with-emotional-support.html
NOTE: This is not my image. I found it on Google. 🙂

If you’ve read my blog long enough, or know me personally, you know fake service dogs are one of my biggest pet peeves and a topic that really gets me fired up. Now, remember, I am not calling a “fake service dog” service dogs that don’t come from organizations, because there are plenty of really good owner-trained service dogs. I’m referring to pets that aren’t task trained to mitigate someone’s disability (if their owner/handler has one) or aren’t even partnered with someone with a disability.

I was scrolling along Facebook tonight, getting ready to post about how Makiko is doing (don’t worry that will come next) and then I see this title and think “hmm, I wonder what this is about!” So I open it up and my eyes immediately go to “emotional support animal” (in quotation marks, implying a fake.

Here’s the article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/advice/2015/07/31/flying-pets/30930717/

GASP! Excuse me – defecated in flight? Now, I get that any dog, like any human, can have stomach upset, but if you’re a true handler of a dog that assists you due to your disability, you usually have ways to help this PRIOR to boarding the flight – like getting appropriate medication or spending a good amount of time outside relieving.

“Airlines are enabling a bunch of selfish people who have no concern for the people around them,” says Kaczka, a teacher from South Plainfield, N.J.

I couldn’t have said it better. These people ARE selfish, or greedy, and they just don’t want to spend the money.. those who fake these animals, I mean. Now, I get that many airlines are likely afraid of the consequences of calling people out and there is only so much they can do if the person brings forged documentation, but I still think airlines should be a little more aggressive, have posted information about service dogs and emotional support animals, and have management that is aware and can help back them up.

I do get that some animals would have a lot of problems in the storage area of a jet, but then make alternate arrangements, don’t bring them. It’s not worth it. Now, the situation with Sam the cat mentioned in the story is sad. The owner did do the right thing by the cat.. and I feel that the airline should have been a little more tolerant.. clean up the mess and move on with it.. just like you would do if a kid pooped in his/her diaper. It’s a difficult balance though. And wow – that’s expensive for a pet transport!

The passenger who was quoted in teh story about it being a double standard that she wasn’t allowed to bring nuts on the plane, but someone was allowed to bring their medium sized non-service animal dog on the plane, was an interesting remark. I totally get that. I would be frustrated too.

When the article stated that airlines are being pushed one way by federal regulations and the other by unhappy passengers, I thought to myself “so what if they are unhappy if they are breaking the law?” Yeah, they are going to be unhappy if they can’t trick the airline into letting their beloved pet onboard and therefore not having to spend money.. but who really cares? That’s their deal. Federal regulations are in place to protect people with disabilities and their service dogs/their reasonable accommodations. It’s okay if the fakers/scammers aren’t happy if they get refused. But again, airlines and employees are just too scared of getting accused of discriminating or asking/saying things they aren’t allowed to. This is where proper training comes in, and empowerment from management who is aware and knowledgeable of their rights and the laws.

This was a very good article. And recent- posted today!

Published by

Jessica N and Makiko

Jessica is a proud Texan. She graduated in 2014 with her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and is now employed. She is visually impaired and has a retinal disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. Originally Jessica started blogging about everything from being diagnosed with the disease to where she is now, almost 9 years later. Then, Jessica went to Guide Dogs for the Blind and was blessed with Makiko, her new guide dog. Now, her blog "The Way Eye See The World" is about everything related to visual impairments, including guide dogs.

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