Delta Airlines and U.S. States Increase Requirements to Decrease Number of “Poser” Service Animals

Delta Airlines and U.S. States Increase Requirements to Decrease Number of “Poser” Service Animals

Rules for flying with a service animal
SSDA USA is here with rules for flying with a service animal.

Many people who suffer from disabilities use service dogs to aid them. Service dogs are especially helpful for individuals who have vision and hearing impairments. They are often used by people with mobility impairments, as well. According to the American Humane Association, there are roughly 20,000 service dogs in the U.S. alone.

Unfortunately, many people try to pass off their pets as service dogs in order to take advantage of the system. This is why Delta Airlines is implementing stricter rules for flying with pets. They hope to curb the number of poser service animals.

Why People Are Pretending Their Pets Are Service Animals

There are places that do not allow the presence of pets, such as certain restaurants and apartment buildings. However, these places do allow service pets since their owners depend on them. Unfortunately, many people pretend that their pets are service animals to bring them to places that normally don’t allow them.

Pretending that your dog is a service animal is ethically questionable. Many critics compare doing so to getting a fake handicap tag for your car. It can cause a major disturbance as well. Pets that are not service animals are not nearly as well behaved. This means that they can cause problems in restaurants, sporting events, apartment buildings and more.

A service dog requires at least two years of training, which can cost upwards of $40,000. Not only are they highly trained, they are incredibly well behaved as well. The difference between a service dog and a regular pet is often night and day, and a pet that acts up under the pretense of being a service animal is giving service animals a bad name.

The problem is that it’s relatively easy to pretend like your pet is a service animal even if it’s not. You can easily go online and purchase a vest that real service dogs often wear. Additionally, people cannot request documentation for a service animal or ask about the specific disability, making it much easier to fake. For a while, there were no laws in place to protect against such misrepresentation either.

The Rules for Flying With a Service Animal

Several states have begun implementing new laws to help protect against service animal misrepresentation. For example, Massachusetts looks to become the 20th state to do so and will charge guilty parties with fines of upwards of $500 and as much as 30 hours of community service.

The problem has been a little more challenging for airlines, such as Delta Airlines. This is because, in addition to having to allow service animals in their cabins, they must also allow emotional support animals under the Air Carrier Access Act. This means that a pet owner can bring their pet into the cabin with them free of charge as long as they say it’s for emotional support.

Delta Airlines is exploring ways to crack down on such misrepresentation as a result of a huge jump in animal incidents on their flights, which include everything from urination and defecation to biting.

If you have a service animal, then make sure you’re familiar with the laws in your state as well as the rules of flying with a service animal. For professional guidance regarding the Social Security programs that you can apply to, call SSDA USA at 602-952-3200 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. Additionally, you can get in touch with us by using our LiveChat feature.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

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