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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reported in the Wall Street Journal, as well as other news sources, Delta Air Lines will require more documentation for service and support animals, as well as a pledge of good behavior. This policy is based on reported bites and disturbances, up 84% since 2016.

Although I'm sorry for the extra effort for those in true need, I applaud Delta taking the lead to stop the fraud. This policy applies to all animals that people try to slip in for free, as service or support animals, which have included sugar gliders, support turkeys, snake, and spiders! ["Petting my tarantula relaxes me during the stress of flying."]

Delta, American, and United already require medical professional proof of need 48 hours before travel. As of March 1, Delta will also need proof of health/vax, and a signed document 'confirming that their animals can behave.' [I'm not sure what a signed document saying that I have a good dog will do?]

In any case, considering the bite incident from last year, I'm glad that Delta is doing this and I hope other vendors will follow that lead. I also hope that medical professionals will be careful when they allow their reputation to be linked to misrepresentation and fraud.
 

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I saw this too and wonder what effect these new measures will have. I am torn between the thought that folks who suffer should have as few obstacles as possible to traveling comfortably with their ESA, and the thought that things have gone a little too far. Without walking a mile in another person's shoes, I don't understand the struggle they go through when flying in the air in a cramped metal container with dozens of other people; I don't know know how much more they would suffer if their ESA were not with them. However, I think it fair to say that no ESA should cause another person suffering.

Is it fair or presumptuous to say that if a person NEEDS a turkey or tarantula with them at all times to feel comfortable enough, it's suggestive of needing further medical help? I guess the same could be asked about dog ESAs.

Anyways, I thought quite a bit about this. I think more education, evaluation, and training (of the ESAs, especially dogs) is a good thing. I think it should be done in a way that is accessible, respectful, and efficient for people who truly need ESAs.

ETA: Needless to say, people who fake it and call their dog/other animal an ESA or SD when they don't actually have a need, are deplorable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One of the 'features' of a valid service animal or support animal, as far as I know, is that they are unobtrusive, not disturbing or biting other people or customers. As we read previously, and as the article suggests, many people are taking advantage of the 'lack of regulation' to get out of paying a 'fare' for transport. In addition, they just want to carry their pet with them, just because they want to. I'm sure you'd like to keep Soro with you while shopping, and I would like to take Mikee, even though I have no needs. But, Mikee is still "not unobtrusive" - more like 80lbs of enthusiastic thunder. [Brae doesn't count, because I know you're training him to go do the shopping without you ;-) ]

Right now, you can pay a fee online and get a certificate for a service/support animal by a self-authorizing service. This is a con game that I'd like put out of business. I'd suggest a Gov't 'license' with photo and medical release on one side, and animal photo with certified pass/fail of training & behavior on the other side, but I don't know how to pay for it.

I'd like to hear Xeph's opinion...
 

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I actually have no desire to take my dogs shopping :D

In fact, even in dog-friendly stores like pet stores and hardware stores, I will make a solo trip to buy things and I may or may not do a brief 5-15 minute visit with dogs for training. But I really am not a person who needs my dogs with me all the time, and I even appreciate my time without dogs. Friends barbecue with dogs allowed? Mine are still staying at home. I'm not going to have a good time socializing if I need to micromanage my dogs around a plethora of people (with lowered inhibitions), dogs and food. I see those as perfect situations for all my training to fall apart. Or, a situation where I am so half-focused on my dogs that it's exhausting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
And, I thought my 'exhaustion' with Mikee was because he is still learning impulse control and distractions. ... Shep spoiled me! ;-)
 

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As much as I'd love for us to live in an ideal world where people with a genuine need for service animals and ESAs have as few obstacles as possible, the reality is that means it is far too easy for jerks to take advantage of it and bring in animals that are clearly not service animals or ESAs. I think having to have some sort of documentation proving that the animal has actual training is a good way to add some regulation as this still allows for medical privacy for the individual. I mean, if you are walking around with a service animal clearly there is a reason for it, but just proving the animal has had real training is not revealing what your medical condition is. Same with a doctor's backing of said animal. The doctor can say yes this person has a real medical need without revealing the medical condition. Fake service animals and ESAs being able to take advantage of the fact that nobody has to prove their animal is a real service animal/ESA is leading to too many safety issues, as well as causing problems due to the fact that they often have no real training. It is a shame that adding this requirement may make it a bit more difficult for individuals who need them to get them, since there'd probably be the added hurdle of having to either get the animal trained by a professional or prove to some sort of regulatory board that yes this animal has actual training, but I keep hearing about all the issues that fake service animals are causing so SOMETHING should be done, yes?
 

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A service animal is different than an emotional support animal. The former has full access under the ADA. The latter does not.

Faking a SD or an ESA just so your pet can be with you is terrible behavior. This fraud has been spreading and every effort must be made to stop it. Good for Delta.
 

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Yeah this whole thing is out of control. I work at a large apt community, for the past couple of years we struggled with this. Mainly breeds which our insurance has banned from living there. We got it figured out now, but it wasnt a huge issue before so we had to re educate ourselves on the legalities of it. In my little world, the issue has been guarding breeds being brought in under the guise of ESA and service animals.
It creates a big problem when a tenant is out for the night, or at work and their water heater or some such bursts, we cant get ahold of the owner, and the dog wont let us in to fix it. An hour or however later it takes the owner to get there and control the dog, by then theres been thousands of dollars worth of damage and they cant be held liable for it. Last year we had tons and tons of people showing us their online bought certificates. We even have people go out and buy a banned breed puppy, throw a vest on it, and claim their 4 month old pup is a service dog. And it doesnt even come when called yet. Uhhg
 
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