The request to extend legal protections to monkeys, miniatures horses and other species were rejected by regulators. It was only trained dogs that qualified as service animals on US airlines. This was mentioned in the final US Transportation Department rules that were issued on Wednesday.
It was however, left to the airlines to decide which other species they could allow on board. The new rules that were issued on Wednesday went towards resolving disputes that had been going on for years. Passengers had been falsely claiming pets as emotional support animals that could travel in the cabins of aircrafts. Under the existing rules it was the job of the airlines to recognize emotional support animals as service animals with limited exceptions. The new rules include only trained dogs as service dogs. These dogs are trained to perform tasks and assist people with disabilities that include visual impairment psychiatric disorders and others.
Figures from 2017 show that US carriers had transported 751,000 emotional support animals. The cost of transporting pets is as high as $175. This is the reason to claim pets as emotional support animals.
The regulators mentioned that they would not recognize cats, capuchin monkeys, and horses as service animals. The airlines could however, use their discretion to recognize them as one. The airlines could not refuse a service animal only on the basis of its breed or generalized physical type. Delta Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest airlines Co. have in the recent years limited the emotional support animals to dogs. This was done after passengers started boarding with exotic animals and pets that included pigs, monkeys and birds which could pose a safety risk.
The new rules will be effective after 30 days of its publication in the federal register.