Proposed Rule May Ban All Service Animals Except Dogs From Flying

The Department of Transportation has proposed strict new rules on what animals can be classified as service animals when flying. Under current regulations, airlines have to allow passengers to fly with most animals if they have a doctor's note claiming the animal provides emotional support.

The lax rules allowed passengers to bring a wide variety of animals on board, including birds, rabbits, pigs, cats, miniature horses, and in one case, a peacock. This has caused numerous issues during flights due to bad behavior by support animals that were not adequately trained.

Under the proposed rules, only dogs will be allowed to fly as service animals. Passengers who want to bring a service dog with them on the plane must fill out a federal form and attest that the dog has been trained to help them deal with their physical or psychiatric disability.

"The Department recognizes the integral role that service animals play in the lives of many individuals with disabilities and wants to ensure that individuals with disabilities can continue using their service animals while also reducing the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets on aircraft will be able to falsely claim their pets are service animals," the agency said in a statement.

The updated definition of a service dog is similar to the definition laid out in the Americans With Disabilities Act and used by the Department of Justice.

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