If Pigs Could Fly; Transportation Department Issues New Rule For Service Animals

The United States is amending its definition of which service animals are allowed on planes. 

The rules for flying with your pooch or kitty are about to change. On Wednesday, the Transportation Department issued a final rule regarding animals on airlines, Washington 4 NBC News reports. The new rule is that only dogs can be considered service animals, and other furry friends passengers use for emotional or mental support are no longer acceptable. 

The move comes after airlines decided to stop allowing passengers to board with their animals for free under the pretense that their pets are service animals. Before the new change, all passengers needed was a note from a health professional to allow them to board with their pets. Airlines say passengers have long taken advantage of the ability, some bringing aboard turtles, potbelly pigs, and on occasion, a peacock, NBC News Washington reports. 

On Wednesday, the agency said it would be changing the rule and that passengers misleading airlines “eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals.” It added that there has been a rise in people  “fraudulently representing their pets as service animals,” which has led to those animals misbehaving and causing havoc on board. 

The Paralyzed Veterans of America said it is worried that the new fees may cause an issue for low-income families. Passengers will support animals other than dogs will be subjected to pay a pet fee or leave them at home. The new rule will go into effect in 30 days. 

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