The increasing appearance of pets whose owners say they are needed for emotional support in restaurants — as well as on airplanes, in offices and even in health spas — goes back, according to those who train such animals, to a 2003 ruling by the Department of Transportation. It clarified policies regarding disabled passengers on airplanes, stating for the first time that animals used to aid people with emotional ailments like depression or anxiety should be given the same access and privileges as animals helping people with physical disabilities like blindness or deafness.
The following year appellate courts in New York State for the first time accepted tenants’ arguments in two cases that emotional support was a viable reason to keep a pet despite a building’s no-pets policy. Word of the cases and of the Transportation Department’s ruling spread, aided by television and the Internet. Now airlines are grappling with how to accommodate 200-pound dogs in the passenger cabin and even emotional-support goats. And businesses like restaurants not directly addressed in the airline or housing decisions face a newly empowered group of customers seeking admittance with their animals.
(Beth Landman, “Wagging the Dog, and a Finger”, May 14).
Plus: Cutting Edge of Ecstasy, dot_gimp_snark, Petulant Times, Cernovich, and Giacalone (we’re “ahead of the pundit pack” — thanks!). Orichalcum: “If I pay $200+ for a plane seat, I kinda feel I have the right not to have a goat in the seat next to me, no matter how comforting its presence is to the third person in the row.” Mark Baratelli proposes “service bottles”.