Delta: no more free-for-all on service animals

Following a series of safety incidents that included the mauling of a passenger last year by a 70-pound dog, Delta Air Lines has tightening its onboard policies on emotional support and other service animals, requiring additional documentation of their role and training and excluding some species altogether, including “‘farm poultry,’ hedgehogs and anything with tusks.” [Karin Brulliard, Washington Post/PennLive; earlier here, here, etc.] The carrier said there had been “a 150 percent increase in the number of service and support animals carried onboard since 2015.” [Alana Wise/Reuters] Employers are bracing for a rising number of demands to let employees bring service animals with them into the workplace, with the likes of the EEOC litigating in support [Patrick Dorrian, BNA/Bloomberg, earlier] And New York has joined a number of other states in passing a law against service animal fraud. [Kevin Fritz and John Egan, Seyfarth Shaw]


  • Perhaps simply applying laws that exist now:
    1) Most states require that dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated in order to enter the state.

    2) An ADA service animal is:
    – a dog or miniature horse
    -leashed or harnessed, except when that immediately interferes with the service for which the animal was trained
    -they animal may be denied if not housebroken (show me a duck that does not crap everywhere)
    -a miniature horse need not be accomodated where its size is a problem
    – a dog who’s sole function is to provide comfort or support is not a service animal under the ADA

    • The ADA does not apply to air travel; the Air Carrier Access Act is the governing statute. DoT regulations under ACAA control, not DoJ regulations under the ADA.

    • The ADA rules for service animals do not control in all situations.

      From the first linked article;

      “Though the Americans With Disabilities Act defines service animals as trained dogs or miniature horses, airlines are bound by the more liberal Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, which allows free travel for “any animal” that is trained to assist a person with a disability or that provides emotional support”

      Also HUD regulations on housing discrimination require accommodation of both service animals and emotional support animals, and the HUD regulations use a different definition of service animal than the ADA.