In December 2020, the Department of Transportation in the United States decided to treat Emotional Support Animals as normal pets in the future.
DoT made the recommendation to the airlines the previous special status of Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s) no longer to recognize.
American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have so far responded to this call, and we expect other US airlines to follow suit. We also believe that European airlines (in Europe the ESAs never had the same status) will no longer allow ESA’s in the cabin.
The Ministry of Transport has also issued a directive requiring trained psychiatric service dogs to continue to be transported in the cabin.
The background to this development is the abuse that has been committed in America with ESA confirmations and also with ESA animals.
As ESAeurope, we can absolutely understand this development, since we originally developed from the training of therapy animals. The question for us now is how we can offer a corresponding training “online”, which allows us to offer adapted confirmations for psychiatric service dogs in further course.
In contrast to the “normal” ESA animal, a service dog is a dog and other animal species are not currently intended as psychiatric service animal. This is the first big difference. In addition, a service dog is a trained dog and not simply an animal that has built up a special relationship and closeness to its owner.
The good news is that more than 90% of all reported animals are already dogs and the training for the Psychiatric Service Dog is not specified. However, the Department of Transport has defined criteria which we will now integrate into appropriate training. Examples are:
Understand and follow the commands “Seat”, “Place”, “Stay”
Dog must walk on a loose leash and not pull. Dog walks past other dogs and behaves inconspicuously in the crowd (not jumping up or jumping up, constantly barking, growling, snapping, biting, teeth fing) – negative excesses must be controllable and stellable.
Proof of cleanliness (on command to ease)
Proof of good and calm behavior (bite inhibition, admission of safety checks, or body checks) including contact of strangers
Mastery of non-verbal and individual characters (why this dog is for me) – 3-5 special specifications that my dog is doing for me and which I can show – it’s really a service dog and not a normal well-behaved dog
Wearing diapers, dishes and a bite basket without any problems
Our idea is now to generate these basic criteria in a training catalogue with exercises, which are then proved doing an online exam. An important goal is to make the whole training as simple as possible and to adapt it to the “Psychiatric Service Dog” alone, not to a general service dog.
This training is then a prerequisite for the acquisition of ESAeurope
Psychiatric Service Dog Card (plus the necessary confirmations)
We are already working together with TAT Austria (animals as therapy) to develop a corresponding training and hope to present you all in the near future more details.
The following article, published in a well-known travel blog, clearly shows that there is also a lot of change in the United States in terms of the transport of emotional support animals. Unfortunately not for the better, as the acceptance of emotional support status is significantly reduced when we talk about airline acceptance and flight escort. The background is simply the abuse that was driven by the status “Emotional Support Animal”.
We in Europe have been faced with these restrictions for some time, because the status of the “Emotional Support Animal” is not defined by law. However, in Europe, as in the United States, we are talking about the acceptance of a service dog (including psychiatric service dogs). The question therefore arises for us as to how we can combine the topic of psychiatric service dog with the previous offer of the ESAeurope Card.
However, it seems clear that, unlike the pure Emotional Support Animal, a service dog must have a certain training and also examination in order to be recognized as such. We will therefore deal intensively with this topic in 2021 and we very much hope that in cooperation with TAT (Animals as Therapy) Austria we will soon be able to present an offer for an online training.
We would be pleased to invite you to a discussion on this topic and therefore leave the comment function on this article open. we will keep you informed about our next steps.
Burkhard Team ESAeurope
Airlines Rules for Emotional Support Animals Have Dramatically Changed (in US)
For years, passengers have flown a host of pets as emotional support animals, including dogs, cats, pigs, and mini horses. With ambiguity around what an emotional support animal is (they were classified as service animals that were allowed on planes without any fee), airlines accommodated requests from fliers who asked their pet be flown with them to help ease anxiety and offer comfort, with a note from a mental health professional. Many have unsuccessfully tried to take their snakes, spiders, peacocks, and rodents with them.
Unlike service dogs, emotional support animals did not need to be trained, so airlines often dealt with urination and defecation onboard, while passengers were made uncomfortable by pets– there have been reported incidents of aggravated allergies and attacks.
Finally, in 2018, Delta spelled out what animals passengers could take (no rodents, insects, or goats), and required owners to show their proof of health, vaccination certificate, a letter from a mental health professional, and a signed document declaring that the animal would behave during the flight. American Airlines and United cracked down on therapy pets, too, and banned people from taking a menagerie with them.
The debate has been long-going with passengers arguing that unruly animals disrupt flights, and fliers take advantage of the rule to fly their pets for free, which is a disservice to those with disabilities who truly need service animals. Airlines have also pointed out that untrained pets can compromise the safety of an aircraft, and the variety that’s seen on board is difficult for the crew to manage. On the other hand, nervous fliers or those with mental health issues find it comforting to travel with their pets.
Airlines had the authority to refuse to admit aggressive animals that threatened the health and safety of others, but after more than 15,000 comments by airlines, individuals, people with disabilities, and airports, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has revised its regulation.
In December 2020, the DoT announced that emotional support animals will no longer be considered service animals. In this new ruling, a service animal was defined as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” The agency also said that all the unusual animals that people have brought as emotional support pets have “eroded the public trust in legitimate service animals.”
On its heel came the news that airlines in the U.S. were changing their policies around emotional support animals—they would no longer be allowed in the cabin. Service dogs (including psychiatric service dogs), however, will continue to accompany passengers.
The DoT also makes it clear that passengers will have to fill out forms “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.”
New Year, New Rules
Alaska Airlines was the first to declare the change in its policies following the DoT’s ruling. On December 29, the airline announced that “Effective January 11, 2021, Alaska will accept only service dogs that are trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability. Emotional support animals will no longer be accepted.”
Those currently booked for flights on and before February 28, 2021, will be able to take their emotional support animals with them. The airline also specified what passengers need to do to comfortably travel with their service dogs, including appropriate behavior (read here).
Just last week, American Airlines also joined Alaska as it aligned its policies with the DoT’s. Service dogs will be allowed on flight after authorization, while animals that previously traveled as emotional support animals may travel as cargo or carry-on pets. The new policies go into effect starting February 1.
Jessica Tyler, President of Cargo and Vice President of Airport Excellence for American said in the “We’reconfident this approach will enable us to better serve our customers, especially those with disabilities who travel with service animals, and better protect our team members at the airport and on the aircraft.”
In a press release shared by Delta, Allison Ausband—S.V.P., In-Flight Service, applauded the DoT’s new ruling. The Atlanta-based airline has banned emotional support animals, reporting that since 2016, there has been an 85% increase in incidents of defecation, urination, and biting. Their change, effective January 11, also includes the lifting of its ban on pit bulls—a bone of contention between the airline and the DoT—because the new ruling says airlines can’t refuse to transport a service animal because of the breed. With Delta too, passengers will need to fill out a form and the staff can still refuse to board a service animal that shows aggressive behavior.
In December 2020, the DoT announced that emotional support animals will no longer be considered service animals. In this new ruling, a service animal was defined as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”
So United Airlines was not far behind in sharing new service animal policies and informed that emotional support animals will be treated as pets. Service animals are allowed in the cabin and would need to be in control of their owners or handlers. Other guidelines include animal behavior, documentation, and seating. For those who have booked travels with an emotional support animal, United will honor bookings until February 28.
JetBlue has also confirmed that it won’t accept emotional support animals after February and passengers will have to bring them on board as pets.
So from next month, you will have to pay extra to bring their companions on board (Delta, American, JetBlue, and United charge ‘125 per carrier one way; Southwest charges .95). It’s estimated that airlines will make ‘59.6 million a year in pet fees with this new rule and it has already started a Twitter war. Pet owners criticized these policies in the wake of airline bailouts by the federal government and defenders sided with airlines, reminding travelers that they can still bring their pets on board by paying a fee.
Travel is unpredictable these days, so before you book your next travels, make sure you read these new emotional support animal policies to avoid more surprises (or expenses).
Dear ESA Members – We are celebrating our 1st anniversary!
• Events in retrospect
• We’ve done it
• Targets 2021 💚 🌏 🐾
One year ago, we took over the ESA movement from founder Andreas Winkel, who laid the foundation for the official European base for establishing emotional support in the EU. For personal reasons, Andreas was unable to pursue the project at that time.
Thus, the takeover of ESA-Europe turned out to be a wonderful “coincidence” for all of us, especially since we have been committed to the human-animal relationship for a long time and wanted to deepen our heart’s concerns.
Now, after an intense but also successful year, we would like to give you, dear ESAs, whether you are already part of our family or are interested in the matter, a little review of the year.
Conceptual work – what is the ESAeurope Membershipcard: 💚 🌏 🐾
The ESAeurope Membershipcard confirms and replaces all documents according to which the person named on the card urgently needs the animal named on the card for his or her well-being due to diagnosed mental health problems. ESAeurope also confirms the close bond and the risk of destabilisation for humans and animals in the event of separation.
The ESAeurope Membershipcard is used for presentation in all situations – where animals are prohibited for taking them with them – for example for the performance of life tasks or for leisure activities.
Examples: flight bookings, rental residence permits, government procedures, executions and purchases, coping with daily challenges.
The background and assumption is the scientific knowledge that animals perform many positive functions for humans – their presence gives us human emotional stabilization, security and the feeling of being loved and needed. Animals are ready to enter into a trusting, intimate and genuine bond with their human being. To do this, they, like the human being, need constant conditions, such as not being separated from humans. ESAeurope confirms this need.
Growth of the members – in the first year of our activity we have increased the membership tenfold! The feedback we receive encourages us to go further along this path, to develop and offer targeted products. We will work on this in 2021.
We thank you for your trust, thank you for the many positive feedback and information about the successful experiences you had with the ESAeurope Membershipcard. This exchange of experience is important on the way to universal recognition and tolerance of our cause!
Voice and exchange – In a short time we will open a comment function for you on the ESAeurope homepage which can also be used to present personal experiences.
Lost&Found – An innovation introduced last year is the NFC-based ESA Lost&Found Chip. The chip not only looks good, but helps in case of losing our favorite. We have created a data-safe procedure to bring humans and animals back together unbureaucratically and safely! The basic principle is the automatic forwarding to an individual website, which contains the essential information about the ESA human/animal partner team. The corresponding information is also stored on the chip.
NEW: Doctor’s letter confirmation via online service:
We found that in the currently very challenging times, those interested in the ESAeurope Membershipcard are not able to obtain their own doctor or therapist confirmation. We have therefore decided to offer an online therapy session that corresponds to external confirmation. This makes it possible to purchase the basis for the ESAeurope Membershipcard online. In order to acquire required documents and medical confirmations, we have created a networking service due to many requests. The online therapy session can be booked by all registered members. The corresponding note can be found on the homepage. You can book the online session via the following link. http://myways.at/produkt/online-therapie-sitzung-emotional-support-animal/
Thanks to Guido from Italy for his commitment to the EU. He has launched a petition in Brussels to put the status of “Emotional Support Animal” on a legally equal footing with US law in Europe. This step is a first important step on the way to broad recognition of emotional support animal. The road is long but the first steps are set. In 2021, we will try to get closer to general recognition.
Plans for 2021: 💚 🌏 🐾
Newsletter: First of all, we would like to be in more contact with you. Regular small newsletters should be the first step!
Work objective: EU wide official recognition that ESA animals must promote the well-being and health of people with emotional deficits and not be separated from their human beings! For this purpose, it will be possible to prove in dogs that they can behave inconspicuously and can be led impeccably by humans. After consultation with the relevant EU bodies, basic training will probably be required. As a first step in the right direction, we are working on an online training program to promote relationships and good leadership. An online certificate can then be purchased and meets the requirements of the European Parliament.
Short video clips about good dog guidance will be the first step towards this. The exam can also be done online!
Background: Dogs need guidance! They have the same feelings as we humans – and trust us. They want clarity and a proper relationship with their human being. They want to do the “job” that they have for us human beings. In addition to loving care, attitude, fun and play, this also requires regular practice and learning of correct behaviour – especially in the situations in which they then support and accompany us. This is not always easy. That’s why learning and practicing is essential for “use”! To make this easy, easy to train at home at any time and without stress, we plan to create small special videos in cooperation with the largest organisation for animal support measures, the TAT-WAZ, Austria, which show important everyday scenes for ESAs as a learning video. Keep our fingers crossed that this important project is successful!!
ESAeurope wants to achieve general awareness throughout the EU! So we need your active support. Please post and then, if you are on social media, also via ESAeuropa one or the other sentence, link the ESA page e.B. With an e-mail signature – or tell your friends and acquaintances about us.
Because: EVERY STIMME ZÄHLT!
Blog – Posts:
Write us everything that is interesting and important in connection with ESA or that pleases you. We put the information about sharing with the whole ESA family on the blog page and grow on it!! 🥇
We are happy if you allow us to take photos of your ESA in our gallery and share them via social media! You have such great companions who deserve to be shown! 🔆
It’s been a good first year – there’s a lot of work waiting for our good cause – we’ll tackle it together. For our animal darlings, who delight us so much, who help us and accompany us faithfully through ups and downs, we do everything that strengthens the bond of love. 💝
We wish you all, humans and animals, health and a loving start to a new exciting year! ✨
Presently we state that it is difficult sometimes to visit your psychotherapist in order to get the necessary doctors letter signed, which enables you to qualify for the ESAeurope Card. To solve this issue we can offer you an online therapy session with Dr.Beate Pottmann-Knapp (psychotherapist) which you can book following below link. Online Therapy Session
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