This post is also available in: Deutsch
In December 2020, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) announced that emotional support animals will no longer be considered service animals. This provision comes into effect on 28.02.2021 and is a recommendation for all airlines worldwide flying within the USA or to/from America, i.e. currently not an absolute requirement.
We expect that the majority of airlines will follow this recommendation as they limit the previous abuse with Emotional Support Animals. In this new scheme, Service Animal defines “a dog individually trained to perform work or tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.”
Since airlines will have different offers for travelling with animals from March 2021, it is essential to know exactly which terms and conditions apply to the booked flight before each trip. Only on this basis can you find the CURRENT best option that suits you and your pet.
This is the safest way to avoid unpleasant surprises (or costs).
ESAeuropeTipp: In addition, re-insure yourself by having the airline of your choice give you the ok for YOUR animal, ESA or PSD, in writing when you book the trip. Take this written communication in 2-fold copy on the trip to prove in case there are problems the agreement made. What an airline has confirmed and you can prove, you can claim!
ESAeurope Note: All statements made by ESAeurope on the subject of PSD are based on the recommendations of the US DoT Standards and not on the local regulations of various European states and institutions on the subject of service dog, therapy dog or service dog. This is because ESAeurope recognizes the special and other requirements of a Psychiatric Service Dog for the care and support of affected persons and does not see them in connection with the training of common service dogs.
Now some general information on PSD (Psychiatric Service Animal).
Definition Service Dog
A service animal is a dog,regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to perform work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric,intellectual or other intellectual disability. Animals other than dogs, emotional support bulls, comfort animals, companion animals and service animals in training are not service animals within the meaning of this definition.
Definition PSD (Psychiatric Service Dog)
A Psychiatric Service Dog is by definition a service dog that is oriented towards the care of a person’s mental and psychiatric disabilities. Psychiatric service animals are treated in the same way as other service animals who are individually trained to do work or perform a task for the benefit of a qualified person with a disability. Carriers are allowed to restrict service animals to dogs, which is actually recommended in the US DoT recommendation text.
Definition Of PSD (Psychiatric Service Dog) supervisors
A service animal caregiver is an air passenger who is either a qualified person with a disability who receives support from a service animal (or a maximum of 2 service dogs) who performs necessary work or tasks directly related to the person’s disability, or another person accompanying the person with a disability travelling with a service animal (for example, a parent of a minor child or a caregiver). The caregiver of the service animal is responsible for keeping the animal under control, caring for and supervising the animal at all times, including going to the toilet and feeding.
Specifications for acceptance of a Psychiatric Service Dog
The current regulation of the US DoT (final version) allows airlines to require passengers with a mental or psychiatric disability travelling with a service animal to provide a Fill out the us DOT developed form and submit it to the airline, which certifies the training and good behavior of the animal and the good health of the animal.
In case of flight durations eight hours or more, the US DoT recommendation allows airlines to ask for a written certificate, that the animal is able to ease itself on a long flight or to facilitate itself in a hygienic manner. This is another requirement for the required training of the dog.
Appropriate forms must be submitted up to 48 hours before the date of travel if the passenger has been booked before that date if the airline requires it. Alternatively, airlines may require a passenger with a disability who wishes to travel with a service animal in the cabin to present the forms at the passenger’s departure gate on the day of travel.
Airlines are required to provide passengers travelling with a PSD with the same comfortable check-in benefits available to other passengers (for example, online and curbside check-in).
The US DoT’s requirement allows airlines to have additional safety-related requirements. Examples are: linen, wearing the bite basket, labelling of the PSD and others. The airline may also hold the dog owner liable for any damage caused by the service animal. Furthermore, airlines may order in case of misconduct to remove the animal, or only to carry it in the cargo hold. In addition, you should expect to be asked about the training of the PSD.
Training of the PSD
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires adequate training of the Psychiatric Service Dog, but does not define what this training must look like on a case-by-case basis and detail, or who can and may perform this training. We interpret this with the specificity of the individual requirements for dogs that provide their services to people with mental health problems. According to the US DoT, the training can therefore also be done by the dog handler himself, as long as this training and success of the training is tested and confirmed. However, it is to be expected that standards relating to this training will be defined sooner or later.
General training content on the PSD
- The dogmust be guided and controlled by its owner.
- The dog does not exhibit aggressive behavior/threatening gestures towards other humans and animals.
- The dog is emotionally stable, calm and calm and can regulate stress independently. Unusual situations are tried, tested and manageable (such as sudden loud noises or movement in a crowd without aggressive behavior).
- The dog has practiced to behave calmly and inconspicuously for the duration of the travel time. It will stay in its place.
- The dog is cared for by its owner and masters the adapted running of its business.