THE TSA & SERVICE DOGS


PETS AND FAKE SERVICE DOGS

WHATS NEXT PEACCKS AND PIGS?

 I am an animal lover, sometimes more than a people lover.  Most animals are quite honest about things, many people are not and it’s those that I take stand against.

And my pet gripe lately of many gripes I write about, illegal service dogs with fake ID’s called “ Companion Animals”  with the fake documentation readily  and easily available.  You can get the fake coats and letters on the web.  Folks think they can get away with anything and a free ride for Snookums is worth attempting.  If you want to really see how this scam with fake service animals works check here.   

REAL PEOPLE:
One beach restaurant here in Indian Rocks Beach, Pinellas County has an outdoor bar and grill on the back of the high-end indoor facility and one late night with a buddy and a great little yorkie named Chippy we had dinner there.  Our server said its fine,  its outdoors, OK by the Board of Health as long as rules are followed, and not a code violation.  As long as the pup doesn’t get on the table or chairs.  And they kinda frowned throwing the doggy scraps, bad impression on others eating there,  so she brought out a water dish and a few treats.  The pup had as much fun as we did, he just laid down and chilled, and she got a really nice tip.

These people who cheat and lie, should be ticketed or arrested, put on a list which might be needed if someone is bit, , barred from flying that airline, or make them serve time at an animal rescue facility cleaning cages.

Travelers and diners may find themselves these days sharing their flight or their restaurant with animals. Many other types of businesses are seeing increasing numbers of patrons with furry friends, too. It’s a trend that presents special challenges, particularly in settings where public health and safety regulations often limit or exclude animals. As a growing number of people with disabilities rely on service animals — and others attempt to pass off their pets as trained assistants — here’s what you should know:

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ONE BLIND WRITER RESPONDED;
I have been traveling with a service dog for the past 24 years. It has never been as stressful as it is today. Service dogs and emotional support animals should not be lumped together. 

Service dogs are highly trained, as are their handlers. To get my first guide dog, I attended the Leader Dogs for the Blind school for 3½ weeks of training. 

The service-animals community has spent years to develop legislation and regulations so that individuals such as myself, a deaf-blind person, can travel, work and be a part of our society.

The most common-sense solution for this conundrum would be for the Air Carrier Access Act to adopt the Justice Department’s definition for service animals. 

Then let airlines develop their own protocol for emotional support animals. Unlike service dogs, emotional support animals are not covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

AGAIN,  A VETERINARIANS REPLY:
Emotional support animals are a not the same as highly trained owner/animal service dogs pairs. The ability to get meaningless "service animal" vests for emotional support dogs doesn't mean they are legitimate and in my opinion do not deserve the same protections that a true service animal is entitled to. 

I have been asked to provide medical certification for emotional support animals and I declined to do so. This is a highly abused categorization and the airlines are right to decline boarding.

Any dog traveling in an aircraft to assist a passenger must be trained to behave properly in public, such as not wandering about, snapping at people etc.  A dog that is not successfully so trained should be excluded from travel, a point recognized by both current Federal regulations and Delta's modified procedures, which appear consistent with those rules.

Emotional support animals are not covered by the ADA and DOJ implementing regulations. That is irrelevant to air travel, which is governed by a separate statute, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and DOT implementing regulations.  DOT has been working for some time on revising those rules, though an advisory committee was unable to come to consensus on service animal issues. 


‘EMOTIONAL SUPPORT PEACOCK' 

BARRED FROM UNITED AIRLINES PLANE

31 January 2018

A picture of the peacock perched on a baggage trolley near United Airlines check.  The unusual creature drew some confused glances from other passengers.  A female traveller was recently banned from taking a large "emotional-support peacock" on board a United Airlines flight, it has emerged.

She had offered to buy the bird its own plane ticket, according to travel blog Live and Let Fly.  Nonetheless the airline refused to let the bird board at Newark airport in New Jersey, saying it did not meet guidelines due to its weight and size.

United says this was explained to the traveller before she arrived at Newark.  She challenged them.  Pictures of the striking bird and its owner emerged via The Jet Set, a travel-based talk show.  The images show the animal perched on an airport baggage trolley, as fellow passengers gaze at it in shock.

‘My therapy animal is inspirational’.  Sometimes I wonder if the pet is sane and the person bringing it along is sane.  Maybe the extra ticket money should be spent on medical mental help.  Airlines have allowed some passengers with emotional or psychiatric problems to take therapy animals with them on board.

But the number of emotional support animals has been rising in recent years, sparking suggestions that people are abusing the system.  In 2014, a woman was escorted off a US Airways flight when her pig, named Hobie, defecated and squealed before the plane took off.   Peacock poop, pig shit...  Possibly he didn’t like the food... I thought the peanuts were ok but overpriced.

‘My therapy animal is inspirational' Had it made it onto the plane, the peacock would have joined a flock of jet-set birds.
Traveller Jodie Smalley, from Seattle, made headlines after taking her turkey on a pre-Christmas flight home in 2015. Cynics were surprised to hear that the bird made the return trip back in one piece - and wearing a special bird nappy.

Airlines that have begun talking about tightening restrictions on a proliferating array of “emotional support” animals on commercial flights may have found their case bolstered this week after a picture of a peacock that was reportedly denied a seat aboard a United Airlines flight traveled far and wide.

United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.”   “We explained this to the customer on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” a spokeswoman for the airline said in a statement Tuesday.  United Airlines did not identify the bird’s owner, citing privacy policies.  Identify?   You gotta be kidding, I wanted to call the guys in white with a van from the Gizinsky Chronic Nutcase Hospital.

in response to the post, many people criticized passengers’ decisions to bring such animals on planes.  “Now its getting out of hand,” one person wrote beneath the Facebook post about the peacock.  “People are abusing this and causing those with true service animals difficulty,” another person added.  “Ridiculous to think she could fly with an bird this size. A very loud large bird,” another one wrote.


 

HOME DEPOT - Now allows dogs, most are pets not even service dogs while you shop.  

🐕   OK Florida is hot and leaving a dog in a car is animal cruelty.   Leave rover home.  Think people!

🐕   This is a noisy, dangerous environment for Rover and I’ll be the first to agree the owner needs a service dog.  (Psychiatric reasoning)  Only a real screwball would bring rover into this environment.  

🐕   In addition the smell level of dogs being 100 times more so than humans is not good for the dog in this crazy environment where even I avoid certain departments with my allergies.  

🐕   I did witness about a fifty pound mixed breed on leash snap at a customer while she was on line,  I was shopping there and rover got excited about something.  If I were to be bitten, I can see it now, a lawsuit against the owner and a lawsuit against Home Depot for allowing it.  Having access to attorney’s I do photo work for, I’m going for the big bucks... 

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires places of public accommodation such as restaurants and transportation carriers to allow service animals that assist people with disabilities. The ADA and related federal anti-discrimination laws take precedence over general restrictions on animals, but only under certain conditions and behavioral standards.

The U.S. Justice Department — the ADA’s primary enforcement authority — considers only dogs to be “service animals” although many of the law’s protections also apply to miniature horses.   I want to be there when there is a horse on the next seat.  Because service dogs are not pets, businesses cannot subject them to “pet fees” or segregation in “animal-friendly” areas. These rules are more broadly defined for air carriers, as you’ll see.


DEFINITION OF A SERVICE ANIMAL

To meet the ADA’s definition, a dog must be individually trained to perform specific tasks that directly relate to a person’s disability. For instance, a service dog may be trained to assist with navigation or alert its handler to safety concerns.

However, if a dog provides aid only by its natural behavior, then it lacks the individualized training necessary for ADA accommodation. This standard means that the ADA does not apply to many dogs that function as therapy, emotional-support and companion animals. Admitting these dogs on the premises could violate local health regulations that prohibit animals at food-service establishments except for ADA-protected dogs.

To further complicate matters, it can be difficult for staff members to identify a true service dog. Although pet owners can easily buy fake unofficial documents or apparel, these papers and emblems have no bearing on ADA compliance:Yet the ADA does not permit questioning a person about the nature of his or her disability. The law does not allow public accommodations to require certificates, licenses or other physical proof that a dog qualifies as a service animal. 

So how should a business assess whether a customer’s dog is a service animal? Federal regulations instruct that if it is readily apparent that a dog is aiding a person with a disability — for example, by leading a person who is blind — then staff members should simply allow the dog in as a service animal. 

But if the dog’s function is not apparent, then the ADA permits only two types of inquiries. First: “Is this dog required because of a disability?” And second: “What specific assistive task or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?”


SERVICE DOG FRAUDSTERS

Unfortunately, some service-dog fraudsters are prepared to give false answers to these questions. Certain courts have recognized, however, that the ADA allows establishments to ask follow-up or clarifying questions. For example, service dogs must be fully trained, so staff may ask if training is complete (a puppy would not meet the standard). 

They may also ask for more details about the specific assistive task or tasks a dog can perform. Managers should proceed with caution in these situations: Excessive questioning or requests for demonstrations of the dog’s training would seldom be justified under the ADA.

Even legitimate service dogs can be excluded from public accommodations if they are not housebroken or under their handlers’ control. The ADA also does not give service dogs free rein to threaten others’ legitimate health and safety interests. For example, restaurant staff may prohibit service animals from eating at tables or sitting on chairs meant for patrons. And service-dog handlers are responsible for property damage to the same extent that other patrons would be held responsible.

The ADA’s service-animal rules also apply to carriers such as trains, buses and taxis, with a key difference: The U.S. Transportation Department does not limit its definition of “service animal” to dogs. Therefore, other animals may be permitted on transit systems if they have appropriate assistive training, are housebroken and are under the control of their handlers.


ON AIRPLANES, THE ADA IS WRONG

On airplanes, however, the federal Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) provides even broader protections for service animals.  Unlike places of public accommodation governed solely by the ADA, commercial airlines must accept ID cards, other documentation, apparel or “credible verbal assurances” as evidence that a service animal is legitimate (although an airline may prohibit “unusual” service animals such as reptiles, rodents or spiders).  The dumbed down word here is apparent.  And as far as credible verbal assurances, which is a nice way of saying, “ I do lie very well”.

Further, if a passenger with a disability produces appropriate documentation from a licensed mental health professional, the ACAA requires airlines to accommodate emotional-support animals that would not be protected by the ADA.

Service animals accompanying commercial air travelers must be permitted in any seat space where their passenger-handlers are permitted to sit.  But federal regulations also instruct airline staff to assess whether a service animal presents a direct threat to the health and safety of others or a significant threat of disruption to the airline service in the cabin.  I have seen enough in the cabin and it’s gotten worse.

TWICE PETS (NOT SERVICE DOGS) CAUSED ME TO REACT

EPISODE ONE  -  On a flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas on Delta  I had a seat across the aisle, from a woman with dog.  I have at times bad, really bad allergies.  Whether it was the dog or the cheap perfume the woman was wearing, like she took a bath in it,  I felt an attack coming on.  Thats all I need, sneezing my way to Las Vegas. I buzzed the stewardess, showed her the reaction I was about to have, nothing was done and soon one colossal (my friends call it a nuclear class sneeze) provoked sneeze got me moved.  The five passengers around me supported my decision to move.  They cheered when I moved.

EPISODE TWO  -  On another flight the yappy dog almost nipped a passenger in front of me boarding who while moving down the aisle to her seat and fido threatened her.  Actually lunged at her.  The stewardess came since this was escalating, and I had to run the same gauntlet in the aisle after him/her next.  I wanted to see what the crew would do.  Nothing, not even move the dog to the window seat.  Out comes the camera.  I believe at times Journalism is required and there are steps :   Incident - Camera - Record - Law Suit  -  Evidence.

NOTE:   -  I’m writing this article and adding to it as I have witnessed too many of these incidents and I am with skills or have experience in two arenas.  I am a pilot who flew a lot of animals in crates as freight.   

When the Key West  Deer (A protected specie which is their correct name), a subspecies of whitetails, was threatened by their habitat flooding in the keys, these miniatures had to be brought out  and taken to be safe at an undisclosed preserve in the panhandle.  Many pilot friends with planes took out the seats and we started an airlift to the panhandle. 

These deer can swim but were getting severely waterlogged and suffering from hoof rot which is a killer when the deer can’t move. They were partially doped as they are really skittish. The vets,  all volunteers and the wildlife people did an incredible job and we started the evacuation.  They share land with the folks in the keys, there is no hunting.  They have only two predators,  gators and Chevrolets, Fords and Dodges.

This deer can be recognized by its characteristic size, smaller than all other white-tailed deer.   Adult males (known as bucks) usually weigh 25–34 kg (55–75 lb) and stand about 76 cm (30 in) tall at the shoulder. Adult females (does) usually weigh between 20 and 29 kg (44 and 64 lb) and have an average height of 66 cm (26 in) at the shoulders. The deer is a reddish-brown to grey-brown in color.

Great idea, executed well but these little guys were not used to the stress and we lost many.  The irony is last year IRMA the hurricane that destroyed the keys did not hurt the herd, Somehow they all survived.  Even subdued with small doses of Diazepam or Valium just enough trying not to knock them out with a proper dosage.  It was horrible. 

I was a volunteer animal rescuer handling injured birds of prey, gulls, pelicans, with the Seabird Sanctuary years ago and have many friends in the veterinary business.  And volunteer when needed, they call me, I don’t call them.

Occasionally I helped with pooches and cats especially during hurricanes when lots of animals are lost, scared, uncontrollable, unpredictable.   

Wild cats, your cuddly purring snuggie bunny are the most unstable when trapped and the jokes about  a ball of fur with claws is not a joke.   I never took on a cat or raptor, both have claws, without elbow length heavy leather gloves, usually throwing them onto their back in a choke hold position which in animal language is submission.   The next step is bribery with treats.   Usually food works best if you see they are starving. Some stay wild for a while, some will adopt you.  

Animals panic when you stare at them, scared animals will react.  I tried to avoid him, her human controller was oblivious and maintained a really creepy attitude.  He made a move, I blocked him with my camera bag and grabbed his scruff.  Mother cats and dogs will grab babies by the scruff and it almost makes them cationic. It also inhibits their ability to turn and bite.  

I made one statement, something about a million dollar lawsuit had the pet bit me.  Her,  the airline,  the fake (Companion) Service Dog Tag, No ADA tag,  and so forth.  My buddy Morgan and Morgan attorneys, would be chomping at the bit or “ bite”.  

The Co-pilot   (First Officer) had enough and called the gate manager, to the plane, they came back, saw what occurred and the passengers started politely chanting throw her off.  I made sure we had six or seven witnesses /and their addresses and emails.   She was asked to leave, we took off 35 minutes late and my beverages and a sandwich were free to Las Vegas.

This pet was in a strange environment, was not in a controlled state, in fear, and unstable.  The woman had no paperwork, just the 29.95 fake service/companion/bullshit  dog coat and fake tag.   The dog easily could have fit in a med-large carrier, doped and flown below.


If a dispute arises with a passenger as to whether the animal should be permitted, staff are to refer the matter to the airline’s mandatory complaint resolution official (CRO). Commercial airlines must provide a written explanation to any passenger whose service animal has not been accommodated under these rules.

For managers at places of public accommodation, decisions about allowing animals on the premises raise challenging legal issues, not to mention difficult customer-service and public-relations predicaments. But developing written animal policies that balance the legal issues at play can help. 

Policies should instruct staff on permissible questioning and emphasize that service animals that are fully trained to assist individuals with disabilities are welcome, provided that their handlers effectively control their behavior.


UNFORTUNATELY THE FEDS HAVE TO STEP IN

I am the last person in this world who needs or suggests another agency of the government.  We already have one and it’s needs new leadership and it’s programs reviewed.

The simple solution is a national registry with visible chip-able tags the service dog is assigned with.  NO CHIP-NO TRIP,  simple solves the whole problem and Rover can bend over, sit-up, beg, high five, do cartwheels, flips but  NO CHIP-NO TRIP.  And this should be an easily verifiable program through the national medical database notation and administered chipping by recoding existing chips by veterinarians.


DELTA STEPS IN

Delta deserves praise for its recent decision to impose tighter restrictions on service animals. Here’s hoping the other airlines will follow suit.

The epidemic that has led to animals showing up in places where they don’t belong has been going on for a while now. It’s been abetted by loopholes in well-meaning legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Access Act, that were intended to make sure that people who have disabilities and their trained service animals would be able to get around without hassles. But many pet owners, not to mention a bunch of online registration companies, have taken advantage of the law.

The New Yorker took a droll look at the abuses a few years ago. Among the many anecdotes of animal excess the magazine reported was one about how Ivana Trump let her miniature Yorkie romp at a fancy Italian restaurant in New York. Ivana, too, claimed the pup was a service animal, the New Yorker says.  Married to TRUMP she needed a service dog and a psychiatrist.

Delta Air Lines is tightening the requirements for passengers traveling with onboard service and emotional support animals, the carrier said on Jan. 19. 

There is a proper distinction between bona fide service animals — which are trained to perform certain tasks for their owners, such as guide dogs for the blind, or dogs that respond to their owners’ seizures — and loosely certified emotional support animals, which basically are frauds. 

Someone suggested the mass murderer Jeffrey Dalmer should write one of those companies for a Companion Harness and Blanket Coat kit, pay the 39.95 and find a nice four footer gator and stuff him in it.  Make a great promo, i’ll bet it works...

The Department of Transportation’s regular reports on disability-related complaints show that those involving service animals nearly quadrupled between 2012 and 2016.  She also notes that 19 states have passed laws that criminalize passing off pets as service animals.

What’s going on here is selfishness dressed up to look like a love for animals.  Delta’s move, announced Friday, suggests we may yet return to sanity. The airline said that as of March 1, it will start requiring advance documentation before boarding animals to certify the owner’s need and the animal’s training. The airline said it adopted the new policy to ensure the safety of its staff, other passengers, and trained service animals.

“Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more,” Delta said in its announcement. The airline said it took steps after an 84-percent increase in unpleasant, unsanitary or dangerous incidents with animals on planes since 2016, including a 70-pound dog’s attack on a passenger.

People with real service animals have long expressed support for stricter policies, because it’s the fakes that make others view their trained animals with suspicion. And that’s because, as usual, it’s not the animals that have run wild, it’s the people who own them.

 07-2018 aljacobsladder.com