Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Is that emotional support dog a fraud?

On a recent Delta flight, a man's "emotional support" dog bit another passenger pretty badly. The dog's owner is a veteran, and we are aware that veterans have problems. I don't know if this dog was a genuine support dog or if he and his owner have had training.

I do know that a lot of people abuse the label "emotional support" dog. They do it to get their dogs on the plane. You can buy therapy dog harnesses on Amazon, and you can buy the credentials online. It's all fraudulent.
Airline industry officials are worried that passengers are getting their pets a free ride by claiming them as emotional support animals. One major U.S. carrier reported carrying more than 24,000 emotional support animals in its cabins in one year. That number is nearly double the amount of people who brought trained service animals on that same carrier in the same year.
And in some cases it gets ridiculous.
Pigs and miniature horses are extremely popular. A diaper-donning duck named Daniel made headlines in October 2016 when a passenger tweeted a photo of him.
There are three types of dogs that go where other pets don't.
Emotional Support Animals: ESAs may or may not be specially trained, but their purpose is to provide comfort for someone with a documented mental health condition.
Therapy Animals: These animals are typically evaluated and registered through an agency, and their purpose is to provide emotionally therapeutic value to those in need. 
Therapy Animals: These animals are typically evaluated and registered through an agency, and their purpose is to provide emotionally therapeutic value to those in need. Therapy animals have no additional rights under the ADA, but settings that do not typically allow pets, such as hospitals and schools, may permit them to visit through programs like Paws on a Mission or Reading With Rover. 
Service Animals: These animals have been specially trained to perform tasks that their owner could not sufficiently perform on their own. For example, they may offer direction to a blind person walking in a busy street, or pick a specific fallen item off the ground for a person in a wheelchair. These animals are not required by law to wear vests, and under the ADA, a business may only ask two questions of the owner: 1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
It's pretty hard for an airline gate attendant to make a decision as an airplane is boarding, so the airlines should set up a screening much earlier in the process to weed out the frauds. The problem is that we're so afraid of offending anyone these days that we've thrown common sense out the window. And people who consider themselves above the rules take us for a ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment