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DOT: No more emotional support animals on aircraft


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5 hours ago, jagoffee said:


Just to clarify:

You believe this DOT statement is a violation of the ADA?

 

Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;

 

I assume you feel that asking a passenger to complete this form is asking for medical documentation?

I do not think that it is, but when an airline decides to implement it, we will know soon enough.

 

It looks to me like if a passengers wishes to lie in writing by signing the form and saying their emotional support dog is a trained service dog, they can. No proof or documentation required.

 

I keep trying to understand why you feel so confident that the DOT is violating the ADA.  I am going to assume it is because you think needing to sign the form swearing to the requirements listed above is a violation.
 

 

It is a clear violation of the LAW, not a regulation, read the law.  The only thing you can do is ask if this is a service animal and what service does it provide.  That is federal law and upheld by numerous cases, you can't ask them to do anything else, period.    Numerous people and companies have been fined for failing to abide by the law.   .  I have no skin in this game, just trying to explain the law which I as a retired high ranking  LEO had to enforce and advise the numerous officers under my command so they could enforce it better.   There is another discrepancy in the DOT guidance which could prevent a problem and that has to do with Psychiatric dogs.  The DOT doesn't specify that dog has to perform specific task, it is just a blanket Okay.   The law and the guidance from DOJ requires that a service dog including PTSD dogs must perform a specific task, it is not a blanket okay.   

Edited by dkjretired
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One overlooked factor in this discussion is the direct regulation of the airlines by the DoT under the curiously named Airline Deregulation Act.  This is to the level where SCOTUS has ruled that this federal legislation and attendant regulations preempts other state laws, and is the governing law for air carriers.  It is also quite likely, IMO, that this same authority may come into play in the tension between the ADA and the DoT.  Note how the airline industry is governed by the Railway Labor Act, which supersedes other labor legislation.

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18 hours ago, dkjretired said:

It is a clear violation of the LAW, not a regulation, read the law.  The only thing you can do is ask if this is a service animal and what service does it provide.  That is federal law and upheld by numerous cases, you can't ask them to do anything else, period.       

1. Are you saying that the ADA says that you can not require a passenger to fill out a form (no other documentation required)?  Yes or no?
 

2. Are you saying that this particular point below is a clear violation of the LAW?  Yes or no?

 

Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;

 

 

 

Thanks, you have said repeatedly that  the DOT document is a clear violation of the ADA.  Just tying to understand with my two questions, which particular part of the DOT document is a violation.  Your yes or no answer to the two questions above will make it clear to the rest of us. (Or at least me)

 

 

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23 minutes ago, jagoffee said:

1. Are you saying that the ADA says that you can not require a passenger to fill out a form (no other documentation required)?  Yes or no?
 

2. Are you saying that this particular point below is a clear violation of the LAW?  Yes or no?

 

Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;

 

 

 

Thanks, you have said repeatedly that  the DOT document is a clear violation of the ADA.  Just tying to understand with my two questions, which particular part of the DOT document is a violation.  Your yes or no answer to the two questions above will make it clear to the rest of us. (Or at least me)

 

 

Yes to both, very clear in the law and precedent. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm glad the airlines are making a stand here.

 

The abuse of benefits for the disabled, being used by greedy people who just want them, drive me crazy. 

 

As someone who had a father who spent 40 years in a wheelchair, I lost count how many times I saw reserved parking spots occupied by people who did not need them.

 

When the cruise lines had to start offering their disabled cabins online for booking, it actually caused a problem for people with disabilities.  People would grab "disabled access cabins" because they liked the bigger bathrooms, and it actually resulted in fewer cabins being available for people who really did need them.

 

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15 hours ago, scottbee said:

When the cruise lines had to start offering their disabled cabins online for booking, it actually caused a problem for people with disabilities.  People would grab "disabled access cabins" because they liked the bigger bathrooms, and it actually resulted in fewer cabins being available for people who really did need them.

 

I have never done that, but if you aren't disabled, don't you have to agree to give up that cabin if a disabled person needs it?

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Folks tend to throw around "Law" and "Regulations" like they are confetti and they often make mistakes.  So, when folks try to apply the ADA to Commercial Airlines they are making a big mistake since Commercial Airlines practices are not always governed by the ADA.  When it comes to Commercial Airlines the Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel.  

 

 The US Department of Justice has made it clear that airlines do not have to comply with the ADA and the US DOT is the agency that specifically resolves issues related to the Air Carrier Access Act.  So when folks apply the ADA language to what happens on a commercial airliner they are actually quoting a Law that does not even apply on a plane.  When it comes to commercial aviation safety takes precedence over just about everything.  

 

Hank

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5 hours ago, zdcatc12 said:

I have never done that, but if you aren't disabled, don't you have to agree to give up that cabin if a disabled person needs it?

I hear you, but, who exactly is going to go that far, do that much work, to chase down and find out who booked a particular HC cabin and make the determination that passenger A is more worthy of a HC cabin than passenger B.

 A TA? - They don't have access to any special database

The cruiseline? - They're just filling cabins.

Someone with tons of money, someone who is a celebrity, or someone who knows someone in the C Suite at corporate may be able to get some changes made in cabin selection, but not you and I.

 

No. In the long run it's just up to you and me and our fellow passengers to determine our own moral values and whether we want to book an otherwise HC cabin.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have no problem with working dogs.  Our problem is with the so called emotional animals.   Fine with the former, absolutely no time or patience for the latter.

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On 12/8/2020 at 5:47 PM, dkjretired said:

It is a clear violation of the LAW, not a regulation, read the law.  The only thing you can do is ask if this is a service animal and what service does it provide.  That is federal law and upheld by numerous cases, you can't ask them to do anything else, period.    Numerous people and companies have been fined for failing to abide by the law.   .  I have no skin in this game, just trying to explain the law which I as a retired high ranking  LEO had to enforce and advise the numerous officers under my command so they could enforce it better.   There is another discrepancy in the DOT guidance which could prevent a problem and that has to do with Psychiatric dogs.  The DOT doesn't specify that dog has to perform specific task, it is just a blanket Okay.   The law and the guidance from DOJ requires that a service dog including PTSD dogs must perform a specific task, it is not a blanket okay.   

I am sure that you have read that this is being implemented.  
We will soon find out if you are correct about the clear violations.

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On 12/23/2020 at 3:28 PM, Hlitner said:

Folks tend to throw around "Law" and "Regulations" like they are confetti and they often make mistakes.  So, when folks try to apply the ADA to Commercial Airlines they are making a big mistake since Commercial Airlines practices are not always governed by the ADA.  When it comes to Commercial Airlines the Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel.  

 

 The US Department of Justice has made it clear that airlines do not have to comply with the ADA and the US DOT is the agency that specifically resolves issues related to the Air Carrier Access Act.  So when folks apply the ADA language to what happens on a commercial airliner they are actually quoting a Law that does not even apply on a plane.  When it comes to commercial aviation safety takes precedence over just about everything.  

 

Hank

 

We'll have to see if its taken to court but there is still a problem that exists.   According to what I've read on the DOT regulations they are going to require doctors notes or certification that the animal is a service animal.    Where does that come from since there is no such registry of service animals and no specific training requirements.   I can go online for $10 and get a certification that my dog is a service animal but what weight does that hold.   

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On 1/8/2021 at 7:14 AM, dkjretired said:

 

We'll have to see if its taken to court but there is still a problem that exists.   According to what I've read on the DOT regulations they are going to require doctors notes or certification that the animal is a service animal.    Where does that come from since there is no such registry of service animals and no specific training requirements.   I can go online for $10 and get a certification that my dog is a service animal but what weight does that hold.   


I do not believe that the regulations require a Doctor’s note or a certification, so you may wish to reread that section.  
The passengers is required to fill out a form and attest that the requirements are met.  You previously stated that you were confident that having the passenger fill out a form was a violation and not legal.  We shall see if you are correct.  

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On 12/22/2020 at 4:13 PM, scottbee said:

As someone who had a father who spent 40 years in a wheelchair, I lost count how many times I saw reserved parking spots occupied by people who did not need them.

 

Just saw this and will respond. Many years ago I had a friend who had had a heart transplant. The anti-rejection drugs had really messed up his hips and he had a handicapped sticker but looked fine. He had people harass him. 

 

 

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On 1/1/2021 at 3:56 PM, iancal said:

We have no problem with working dogs.  Our problem is with the so called emotional animals.   Fine with the former, absolutely no time or patience for the latter.

What about what I described before? This man had PTSD from war. This was an emotional support dog. I think some kind of certification should be required so he can have his dog but not everybody in the grocery store can't.

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On 1/9/2021 at 1:40 PM, jagoffee said:


I do not believe that the regulations require a Doctor’s note or a certification, so you may wish to reread that section.  
The passengers is required to fill out a form and attest that the requirements are met.  You previously stated that you were confident that having the passenger fill out a form was a violation and not legal.  We shall see if you are correct.  

This is what you quoted, that's what I'm talking about, where does this certification come from.

 

  • Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;
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3 hours ago, clo said:

What about what I described before? This man had PTSD from war. This was an emotional support dog. I think some kind of certification should be required so he can have his dog but not everybody in the grocery store can't.

 

Post #24 has a link to the Justice Dept. interpretation of the ADA which clearly states that a PTSD dog must provide a specific service to be considered a Service Dog.   ESAs are not considered service animals.  

 

As far as the ADA not counting in airlines, I would like to see documentation of the Justice Dept saying that as earlier stated.   These regulations are regulations which cannot supersede a law. 

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4 hours ago, dkjretired said:

This is what you quoted, that's what I'm talking about, where does this certification come from.

 

 

  • Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s health, behavior and training, and if taking a long flight attesting that the service animal can either not relieve itself, or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner;

We have previously discussed this earlier in this thread.  If the DOT and airlines need to revert back, we will know if you are correct. You are the expert.  I just question whether completing a form attesting facts violates the law.  No proof required as far as I can see.  Attesting is just saying that you are telling truthful.  

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9 hours ago, jagoffee said:

We have previously discussed this earlier in this thread.  If the DOT and airlines need to revert back, we will know if you are correct. You are the expert.  I just question whether completing a form attesting facts violates the law.  No proof required as far as I can see.  Attesting is just saying that you are telling truthful.  

 

There's an interesting thread about this also on this board about Alaska Airlines.  

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17 hours ago, dkjretired said:

 

Post #24 has a link to the Justice Dept. interpretation of the ADA which clearly states that a PTSD dog must provide a specific service to be considered a Service Dog.   ESAs are not considered service animals.  

 

As far as the ADA not counting in airlines, I would like to see documentation of the Justice Dept saying that as earlier stated.   These regulations are regulations which cannot supersede a law. 

Attorneys would have fun with this :).   Like many statutes things are not always crystal clear and are generally left up to the regulatory agency (in this case DOT) to promulgate specific regulations.  When it comes to service animals and the airlines the language is actually pretty clear:

  

Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title IV, §437, Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3344 , provided that:

"(a) Rulemaking.-The Secretary of Transportation shall conduct a rulemaking proceeding-

"(1) to define the term 'service animal' for purposes of air transportation; and

"(2) to develop minimum standards for what is required for service and emotional support animals carried in aircraft cabins.

"(b) Considerations.-In conducting the rulemaking under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider, at a minimum-

"(1) whether to align the definition of 'service animal' with the definition of that term in regulations of the Department of Justice implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–336) [42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.];

 

I took the liberty of bolding the applicable section right out of the law (this is part of the so-called Air Carrier Access Act).  The language is pretty clear that the Secretary of DOT has the latitude to decide whether to follow the ADA language when it comes to airline regulations for service animals.  The Secretary, through the regulatory process (in government Regulations are the normal way to implement statutes) decided to take the airlines in a slightly different direction from what is set forth in ADA.   The bottom line is that the Secretary of DOT has full legal authority to define "service animals" contrary to what is in ADA.  As part of the regulatory process the regulations (and amendments) are published (for public comment) in the Federal Register.   As I recall there was some controversy when the Secretary changed the regulations/rules....but the revisions were adopted.  As I recall it gave the airlines the authority to ban all but "Service Animals" (further restricted to dogs and I think miniature horses).  

 

Hank

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6 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Attorneys would have fun with this :).   Like many statutes things are not always crystal clear and are generally left up to the regulatory agency (in this case DOT) to promulgate specific regulations.  When it comes to service animals and the airlines the language is actually pretty clear:

  

Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title IV, §437, Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3344 , provided that:

"(a) Rulemaking.-The Secretary of Transportation shall conduct a rulemaking proceeding-

"(1) to define the term 'service animal' for purposes of air transportation; and

"(2) to develop minimum standards for what is required for service and emotional support animals carried in aircraft cabins.

"(b) Considerations.-In conducting the rulemaking under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider, at a minimum-

"(1) whether to align the definition of 'service animal' with the definition of that term in regulations of the Department of Justice implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–336) [42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.];

 

I took the liberty of bolding the applicable section right out of the law (this is part of the so-called Air Carrier Access Act).  The language is pretty clear that the Secretary of DOT has the latitude to decide whether to follow the ADA language when it comes to airline regulations for service animals.  The Secretary, through the regulatory process (in government Regulations are the normal way to implement statutes) decided to take the airlines in a slightly different direction from what is set forth in ADA.   The bottom line is that the Secretary of DOT has full legal authority to define "service animals" contrary to what is in ADA.  As part of the regulatory process the regulations (and amendments) are published (for public comment) in the Federal Register.   As I recall there was some controversy when the Secretary changed the regulations/rules....but the revisions were adopted.  As I recall it gave the airlines the authority to ban all but "Service Animals" (further restricted to dogs and I think miniature horses).  

 

Hank

Thank you for the reference...

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