DENVER (CBS4) – More animals than ever are flying in the United States. “CBS This Morning” looked at the problems created when passengers take advantage of a law meant to protect the disabled who fly with their pets.
The law is the Air Carrier Access Act, which states that no carrier can discriminate against people with a physical or mental impairment. That has many people applying for emotional support animal status for their pets, including a CBS News staffer who got the status for his dog to show just how easy it is to get the certification.
It costs about $150 to get the certificate and the vest for the animal. Once that’s in place the pets can fly free.
Flight attendants say they understand the role of pets, but there are problems.
“We’ve had 50 documented reports where there was a return to the gate, or somebody was bitten or there was non-compliance,” said Laura Glading, Association of Professional Flight Attendants President.
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It’s not just dogs that are flying — the same CBS News staffer borrowed a pig and got it certified as an emotional support animal through a Colorado company. The pig was a big hit on the flight, behaving perfectly, but people who use service animals worry about having untrained pets on planes.
“It’s not whether they are a service animal an emotional support or pet, it’s when the dog themselves are stressed and out of their comfort zone, they are misbehaving,” said Jim Kutsch, Seeing Eye President and CEO.
The Department of Transportation does not have any rules about what constitutes an emotional support animal. It also does not have any limits about how many of those animals a passenger can fly with.