If you’re following me on Facebook or Instagram, then you know that I recently posted a controversial photo that quickly became the center of a heated debate between my friends and followers. The photo was of a woman walking a small dog on a leash aboard a flight from Los Angeles to Toronto. What caused the big ruckus? The pooch was wearing a “Service Dog” vest and it was one of those things that make you go…hmmm?
I didn’t want to say too much because I honestly have no idea if this woman’s dog was really a service dog or not, but the vest sure didn’t look like it was legitimate. My big beef is that I (sadly) know many people who buy these vests/certificates online through companies that don’t require any proof that they’re for an actual service dog. Travelers do it for a number of reasons. One is so that their dogs can fly with them on the plane rather than in the cargo hold. Another is so that they don’t have to pay the usual $125+ each way fee. That’s right…service animals fly for free.
I love dogs and I’m not allergic to them, so it doesn’t bother me in the least. I actually find them comforting. What bothers me is that I know that the increasing number of people and companies who are abusing the system are going to ruin it for those individuals who actually need a service dog for support. Have you seen an increase of “service dogs” when you travel? I have and perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. Because according to New Yorker magazine: “In 2011, the National Service Animal Registry, a commercial enterprise that sells certificates, vests, and badges for helper animals, signed up twenty-four hundred emotional-support animals. Last year, it registered eleven thousand.”
Have you, or do you know anyone who has, purchased one of these “service animal” vests/certificates even though they don’t actually warrant one?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Good to know: According to The New York Times, one big giveaway is that “assistance dogs are trained not to bark in public, not to go smelling other dogs or people.”
Interesting Stories on the Subject:
- New Yorker: Why are so many animals now in places where they shouldn’t be?
- NPR: Removal Of Blind Man, Service Dog From Flight Sparks Outrage
Airline Policies on Service Animals:
- FAA: Service Animals in Air Transportation – Aviation Consumer Protection (PDF)
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- JetBlue Airways
- Spirit Airlines
- US Airways
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.