No, your pet monitor lizard/kinkajoo/boa constrictor/etc. is not a service animal

I have to say, I’ve seen a lot of dogs that were presented as service dogs. And my best guess is that some of them were just “emotional support” and not actually service dogs. But every one that I’ve seen has been quiet and well behaved. My mom (who is afraid of dogs) freaked out when we had to walk by an enormous dog sitting in an airplane bulkhead. But the dog barely looked at us as we walked past it, and sat quietly in its assigned spot for the entire flight. I dunno if it was an official service animal, but it was certainly well-trained.

And that’s been my experience overall. Dog in a restaurant? It stays under its owners chair. I guess three of the service dogs I have seen frequently were obviously helping a blind person on my commuter train. (One of those wasn’t all that well-trained, but its owner told me he was still training it. – I had offered to help, since the dog wasn’t, And he turned me down, because the dog needed to learn to do its job, even if that meant he missed his train.)

So I guess I don’t “get” the annoyance with random service animals.

Thank you!

My wife, my daughter and I trained three guide dogs, and my daughter trained three more. We trained them for a year and a half, and Guide Dogs for the Blind trained them more before partnering them with a blind person. The training was rigorous with monthly meetings where progress was checked. We had a big set of rules for them, and clearly the professionals at GDB were more skilled than we were.
Is random person training a dog going to do it at that level? About 50% of dogs get career changed - is someone’s pet dog ever going to not succeed self training? And the dogs have been bred for the job for decades. Our last dog became a breeder so we got to keep her. She had to go through an even more rigorous set of tests for that.
I’m fine with trained service animals for all sorts of jobs, not just being partners with blind people. I do object to random not well trained dogs being passed off as trained dogs. It’s the University of Phoenix vs. Harvard.

I’m sure that if I’d run into “service” dogs who jumped on me, or barked through an airplane flight, or otherwise misbehaved in ways I noticed, that would annoy me. But I’ve never run into that. And I do run into “service” dogs pretty frequently. So… Maybe some are community college and not ivy league, but they seem to have learned their job adequately.

And if someone is calmer with a monitor lizard draped on their shoulder, and the lizard sits quietly on their shoulder and doesn’t affect me… I don’t see how that’s a problem for me.

From the linked article it seems that flight attendants are particularly concerned with the problem, and they should know better than any passenger.
And I have no problem with trained service dogs flying at all. Only untrained ones or where the training is inadequate.

I agree with this statement. However, there are many other jobs for service dogs than just leading the blind. This is why more compassion needs to be shown for those without visible disabilities.

It looks like the airline industry doesn’t really care if you bring an animal on the plane as long as you pay for it now. The reason so many airlines object to having emotional support animals on board is because they lose millions in pet fees. I’ve talked to flight attendants that are both for and against assistance animals, but for the most part they don’t mind them if they behave.

I don’t think anyone here has said anything against legit service dogs for people with invisible disabilities. Thinking that it shouldn’t be quite as easy as it is for people to lie and pass off pets as service dogs is something different altogether. I would have to provide more documentation to get a landlord to allow an ESA than I need to bring a service animal into a place of public accommodation - and TBH, even the ESA documentation is kind of suspect , as you can get it online from a doctor/therapist who hasn’t met you but bases the letter on 20 questions that probably makes it obvious which answers will get you the letter. I’m sure that more than one therapist working for/with one of these places has faced the loss of his/her license - it’s generally not considered ethical to assess or diagnose someone you have never met.

For the most part, people are getting these letters online because they are either 1) not actually seeing a therapist - and it’s kind of difficult to believe that someone has a mental health condition that rises to the level of a disability but isn’t being treated or 2) is seeing a therapist who isn’t willing to write such a letter - perhaps because in the therapist’s professional opinion the person isn’t disabled or doesn’t need an ESA or even that an ESA is contraindicated.

There are a lot of people who don’t have the ability to pay thousands a year to see someone for their mental health when it is a struggle to pay rent or for groceries.


Or perhaps the regulations in force before the new one made it difficult for the airlines to refuse ESAs. I suspect that in the aggregate they add to the cost of a flight, but given that the airlines charge for anything these days fees for them are not surprising. Ever see any advertising encouraging the bringing of dogs on board? I haven’t.
And I’m all for any certified, trained service dog, no matter what its function.

That was really the nub. Under prior law, we were left with ADA rules only which (after a few ill-decided court cases) amount to “Whatever the human says must be absolutely respected as absolute truth, no matter how far-fetched it may be. And no, you can’t ask for any 3rd party proof. Their right to their desired accommodation overrules everyone else’s rights to anything.”

Which of course led to lots of people doing things that selfishly infringed on the space, sensibilities, and occasionally safety of their fellow passengers.

So at much urging from carriers and their unions together, DOT came up with their own regs that recognize the special cramped, temporary, and potentially hazardous situation involved in air travel. And which mandate a more restrictive approach to animals in the passenger cabin. Which amount to a local exception to the more generally applicable ADA rules.

Just as we can, and should be, fussier about COVID masks while shoulder to shoulder with strangers on an airplane than in a grocery store or a golf course, it makes sense to be fussier about livestock on an airplane versus in a restaurant or a public park.

So far the industry has been totally on its own trying to enforce COVID masks. FAA shrugs and says it’s not their problem. So has DOT & CDC. If the pandemic lasts long enough (and the airlines do too) I’d expect to see some level of regulation eventually emerge.

While the DOT ESA rules may be fresh news to the general public, the effort by DOT to put something in place is over 5 years old. That’s how long it takes to push a non-emergency regulation out the door given all the pushing and shoving by various factions, all while “continue to ignore the problem” remains an option on the table.

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here.