Delta Airlines bans some emotional support animals from flights
A major airline is ready to ban certain emotional support animals on planes. On Tuesday, Delta Airlines announced new rules that limit which animals can fly and restrict the types of flights the animals are allowed on.
"What a pretty dog can I pet her?" asked Sheri Soltes, founder of Service Dogs Inc. in Dripping Springs.
On Tuesday, Soltes participated in a demonstration of how a trained service dog should act in public.
"Hi puppy, puppy," said Soltes.
During the demonstration Bengal sits while being petted. The 2-year-old Labrador Retriever doesn't jump or bark and always keeps a watchful eye on her trainer. If all dogs in airports and on planes behaved like that, Soltes doesn't think Delta Airlines would be tightening the leash on emotional support animals.
"Emotional support animals are not required to have any training," said Soltes.
She says some dogs booked on flights don't even know basic commands. The founder of the service dog training center says the dogs are so fearful in airports and on planes they become aggressive.
"Animals are getting into fights with other animals. Animals are barking. They're toileting in the plane and they are stealing food. They're behaving inappropriately. They're not trained and their partners aren't trained so the airlines are desperate to find a solution," said Soltes.
The solution for Delta Airlines is to start banning puppies and kittens younger than four months of age on all flights. That ban includes service animals.
In addition, all emotional support animals, regardless of age, are going to be banned in the cabin on flights longer than eight hours.
Becky Kier teaches dogs to do complicated skills. But she says it's simple obedience training that makes the dogs welcome anywhere.
"They have a lot of basics and basic manners to learn so that they have good manners and can go everywhere in public and be under really nice control," said Kier, the manager of training at Service Dogs Inc.
To stop misbehaving, some think the most effective long-term solution is to no longer allow emotional support animals in the cabins of planes.
"We want to make sure the legitimately trained assistance animals are on the plane, but the teddy bears with a pulse should maybe stay at home so it's safer for them and for the public," said Soltes.
The new rules for all puppies and kittens and emotional support animals take effect December 18, just ahead of the holiday travel season.