Rules about pets (especially large dogs)???

 
Old Feb 14, 09, 7:41 pm
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Rules about pets (especially large dogs)???

I flew to PHX on flight 267 on January 6 in seat 7A. It was a completely full flight. Much to my surprise, the fellow sitting in seat 7C brought a dog on-board with him - a full size pit bull! This dog was huge - his owner claimed that he weighed about 65 pounds. I felt really bad for the person in 7B, since it was very hard to keep the dog (obviously not in a carrier) under the seat in front of the owner. The owner was very nice and said to the woman in 7B that if she was uncomfortable, he would try to get reseated or would have her reseated. She said that it was OK.

I fly almost every week, and honestly have never seen this before. This dog was so big that it definitely could have hindered us if we had an emergency. None of the flight crew seemed the least bit concerned, even though several times, they needed to step over or around the dog. The dog was very well behaved, and the owner gave him some benadryl at the beginning of the flight to calm him. But the dog definitely did not sleep throughout the flight.

Has anyone else encountered this situation before?
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Old Feb 14, 09, 7:47 pm
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Was he considered a service dog? I thought only a service dog could be brought onboard uncrated.
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Old Feb 14, 09, 7:51 pm
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Are you sure this was not an assist dog or assist dog in training? Usually, if the animal is "on duty" they will be wearing a vest, special tag or something similar to identify them. Under normal circumstance all pets have to be in a kennel and be able to fit under the seat as not to block a quick exit.
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Old Feb 14, 09, 7:54 pm
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As far as I knew, he was not considered a service dog. I work with someone who trains service dogs, and typically they have a cape on that identfy them as a service dog, or they have a service dog harness. This dog had neither. And from what the owner was telling me, he just couldn't leave the dog at home while visiting his brother. This seemed very strange to me...
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Old Feb 15, 09, 10:55 am
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Sounds like it was an "emotional support" animal. These animals are not required to wear any identifiable markings such as vests as they have not been specifically trained. Passengers flying with emotional support must provide documentation from their doctor that they need the animal to fly with them for various reasons and many times they will not board in a carrier if they are too large to fit in one.
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Old Feb 15, 09, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by GalleyWench View Post
Sounds like it was an "emotional support" animal. These animals are not required to wear any identifiable markings such as vests as they have not been specifically trained. Passengers flying with emotional support must provide documentation from their doctor that they need the animal to fly with them for various reasons and many times they will not board in a carrier if they are too large to fit in one.
I am so glad I have an understanding doctor. This will save me some pet boarding fees next time
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Old Feb 16, 09, 8:59 am
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Thanks, GalleyWench, for the explanation. This dog was so big, he did not easily fit under the seat in front of his owner, and was often partially in the aisle, or sitting up with his head in 7B's "space." I would think that if there was an emergency, this would make it extremely difficult. It is surprising that this dog would be allowed to ride with the owner in the cabin, given his size.
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Old Feb 16, 09, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by TwilightZoneGirl View Post
Thanks, GalleyWench, for the explanation. This dog was so big, he did not easily fit under the seat in front of his owner, and was often partially in the aisle, or sitting up with his head in 7B's "space." I would think that if there was an emergency, this would make it extremely difficult. It is surprising that this dog would be allowed to ride with the owner in the cabin, given his size.
Would you (not YOU, TwilightZoneGirl, but a generic "you") be asking the same question about the dog's size and lack of carrier had the dog been an obvious service animal (wearing a vest)?

I have seen some rather large dogs as service animals on the planes, but usually they are in bulkhead.
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Old Feb 16, 09, 10:31 am
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http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/20030509.pdf

The above link is to the Federal Register

Policy Guidance Concerning Service Animals in Air Transportation
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Old Feb 16, 09, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by honeytoes View Post
Would you (not YOU, TwilightZoneGirl, but a generic "you") be asking the same question about the dog's size and lack of carrier had the dog been an obvious service animal (wearing a vest)?

I have seen some rather large dogs as service animals on the planes, but usually they are in bulkhead.
Service animals are highly trained and exhaustively tested before they are put out into the "field." "Emotional support" animals are not. I don't care what FAA regulations permit -- I would object strenuously to being seated next to someone's pet.

Last edited by PTravel; Feb 16, 09 at 11:11 am
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Old Feb 16, 09, 1:08 pm
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I flew CLT - LAS last year in Coach with a large black labrador retriever under the seat in front and to the right of me. It was a service dog for the man sitting next to me on this completely full flight. I admit that I cringed when I first saw the dog sitting down, but the dog was an incredible seatmate. It made not a single sound on the ~4 hour flight and never got up or even moved until we arrived. The dog's owner, a blind man on the way to a Lions Club meeting, also turned out to be a really nice guy. I would gladly fly with both of them any time!
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Old Feb 16, 09, 9:59 pm
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There are a number of American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers that serve a Search And Rescue K9's. These two breeds have worked disasters such as 9/11 and the Space Shuttle crash. Based on your description, this was most likely the case.
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Old Feb 17, 09, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by CDKing View Post
http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/20030509.pdf

The above link is to the Federal Register

Policy Guidance Concerning Service Animals in Air Transportation
That is great... Note it does not state "dogs" it states, "animals" and specifically references MONKEYS as an example...

What would you do if there was a MONKEY on board sitting next to you in 13B?
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Old Feb 17, 09, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
That is great... Note it does not state "dogs" it states, "animals" and specifically references MONKEYS as an example...

What would you do if there was a MONKEY on board sitting next to you in 13B?
I'd be impressed by the level of training the money had and its bond with its handler. I wouldn't initiate interaction with the monkey unless the handler invited me to. I would be mindful that the monkey is doing a job and isn't there for my amusement.
http://www.monkeyhelpers.org/
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Old Feb 17, 09, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
That is great... Note it does not state "dogs" it states, "animals" and specifically references MONKEYS as an example...

What would you do if there was a MONKEY on board sitting next to you in 13B?
It depends. Is the monkey a service animal or an "emotional support" animal? If it was a service animal, it would be well trained, I wouldn't have to worry about its actions, and it would be an interesting experience to watch how it assisted its owner. I'd probably chat with the person it was assisting and come away quite impressed with both of them.

If it was an "emotional support animal," it would be no more than someone's pet, and I have no intention of sitting next to anyone's uncaged and untrained pet, regardless of what FAA regulations may allow.
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