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Delta Airlines implements new policy for psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – Air travelers have been seeing more dogs and more dog-related incidents on planes recently, but now one airline is implementing new rules.

Starting Thursday, Delta Airlines will require a doctor’s note and animal vaccination records. A statement on their website says:

  “For the safety and health of everyone, we require documentation when passengers travel with a service or support animal in an aircraft cabin…To travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, passengers must upload the required documentation at least 48 hours before a flight.”

When Marguerite Ulmer flies her 5-year-old Maltese goes with her. Zuzu is her emotional support dog.

“I have fear of flying which is pretty severe,” Ulmer told News4Utah Tuesday in the Delta Baggage Claim area at Salt Lake International Airport. “She calms me down. You just put her in your lap and pet her and that just really helps.”

Deeann Shepherd of the Utah Humane Society says some owners have lied about their pets being service or emotional support animals to save money or have them in the cabin. Amazon offers service dog vests for around 20 dollars and patches for 10 bucks.

“If it’s not trained then it is a risk,” Shepherd said. “I know they’ve had a higher incident of bites on planes–problems and messes, urination and defecation on the plane, so it’s been undue stress on the staff on trying to provide that safe flight.”

“I think they’ve got to take precautions,” Delta passenger Lacey Lambert said. “I think people will abuse it. People try to abuse everything, so I mean, a doctor’s note? I think that’s reasonable.”

Marguerite Ulmer says she understands the need for the new regulations but she doesn’t necessarily agree with them.

“It’s going to be more trouble and more expense,” Ulmer said. “I’ll need to upload that information which at my age is a pain in the neck because I’m not very good technologically.”

Other airlines are expected to follow suit with similar regulations soon.

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