Only a month ago was I reading an article about how to easily register your pet as an emotional support animal so you can travel with them on the plane; it seemed pretty straightforward and easy and maybe even too easy. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is stepping in and tightening up the rules as they've announced in a news release that emotional support animals will no longer be considered "service animals" on flights.

This has been a controversial travel topic for a while and the DOT has been having conservations about it since early January. or attempting to board with peacock named Dexter. There's even been emotional support squirrels making headlines and sparking debate!  According to the DOT, these situations have "eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals."

“The final rule announced today addresses concerns raised by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants, airports, other aviation transportation stakeholders, and other members of the public, regarding service animals on aircraft,” the agency said.

Only dogs can fly in plane cabins as service animals from now on. A service animal is now being defined by the DOT as "a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” So in other words, not just your house pet.

Airlines are also now allowed to require DOT-approved forms "affirming a service animal's health, behavior and training before travel" and allowing carriers to limit the number of service animals to two per passenger. There will also be a new to pay while the pet gets put in the cargo hold.  It's estimated that the airlines industry will gain near $60 million in pet fees annually.

What are your thoughts though? Should other emotional support animals other than dogs be considered valid service animals and be allowed to fly?

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