But a couple of things came to my attention this week that causes me to comment. We own a store and we allow dogs to come in with their owners IF they are not wetters and they are calm and friendly. Otherwise I’ll toss them out.
The other day I was in a local bakery and a gentleman ahead of me had a dog with a “Support Animal” vest on. This means nothing except that he paid some support organization $50-$200 for a vest to pretend he had a certified reason to bring the dog into an eating establishment. He doesn’t. According to the ESA doctors website, a vest or a card saying your animal is an emotional support animal translates to a right to take your pet anywhere, think again. That card merely says that your pet has been registered in some database of pet owners who have the money to pay to an organization, or organizations as the case may be, which has no official government recognition. Emotional support animal certificates do not entitle their holders to bring in their pets to stores, hotels, trains, restaurants, taxi cabs, buses, and parks. Unlike service dogs, which are legally allowed to be with their owners anywhere the handler is present, ESA dogs and cats are classified by the federal government as untrained companions and are limited access to certain locations.
Now with the dog I was speaking about it had its tail between its legs and a wide-eyed look that indicated anything other than a desire to be in that bakery. What kind of emotional support was that? Right now if you get on a plane and are allergic to dogs or cats or whatever and the person next has a “support” animal you have to deal with it. Sniffle and cought for the rest of the flight because Fluffy comes first.
As reported in today’s Los Angeles Times by Hugo Martin starting May 1, Alaska Airlines will require passengers who want to travel with emotional support animals to provide proof that the animal is healthy, well-behaved and is needed to support the flier during the flight. The change comes only months after Delta and United Airlines both adopted similar requirements, which took effect March 1.
That proof comes in a couple of ways – It requires that passengers flying with emotional support animals provide a letter from a mental health professional or medical doctor, affirming that the flier needs the animal for support.
Starting May 1, passengers must also print and fill out two additional forms from alaskair.com. In one form, the passenger affirms that the animal is well-trained and that the passenger accepts liability for any injury or damage caused by the animal. Another form certifies that the animal is healthy. All three documents must be submitted 48 hours before flying.
Delta and Alaska both have cited a recent surge in incidents involving animals on planes. Delta said it adopted the new policy in response to an 84% increase in animal incidents since 2016, including animals urinating, defecating, biting, barking and lunging on planes. A Delta passenger was mauled by a 50-pound dog on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego last year.
Alaska carries about 150 emotional support and service animals daily and has been noting problems almost weekly.
I understand people need support…some people.
You may qualify for an emotional support dog if you have emotional or mental illnesses. If you suffer from one or more of the mental illnesses listed below, you may qualify for an emotional support dog.
- – Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- – Learning Disorders
- – Autism
- – General Anxiety Disorder
- – Gender Identity
- – Bipolar
- – Cognitive disorders
- – Depression
- – Severe anxiety
- – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
But the law needs to clarify and make people get some sort of certification if indeed they really need support as opposed to “I just don’t like to leave fluffy alone at home and I’m too cheap to board her or get a dog sitter.” The law needs to be for people on both sides of the equation.
As always I look forward to your comments