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DOT seeking comments about service animal rules

The Transportation Department announced Wednesday it was seeking comment for drafting rules for dealing with animals flying with passengers on planes.

The proposal asks for comment for 45 days about questions such as:

  • Whether to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals, such as for the blind and deaf.
  • How to distinguish emotional-support animals from other service animals.
  • Whether to require emotional-support animals to travel in containers or with a harness or leash.
  • Potentially limiting the types of animals qualifying as emotional-support animals.
  • Potentially prohibiting airlines from requiring veterinary health forms or immunization records for service animals.

Because of the rulemaking, the department says it will focus enforcement on clear violations of current rules that could affect the largest number of passengers.

The request for comment comes after American, Delta and United airlines revised their policies in recent months to prohibit animals such as reptiles and birds as comfort animals traveling with passengers in the cabin.

The goal of the rulemaking is to ensure that individuals with disabilities can travel with animals they rely on for assistance while also preventing fraud by travelers bringing along pets under the guise of service animals.

Here are the actual DOT notices: