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New rules might kick some emotional support animals off planes

The Department of Transportation’s new proposal would mean that only service dogs could fly within the cabin of the plane.

NORFOLK, Va. — A new proposal from the Department of Transportation would mean that emotional support animals no longer get to fly in the cabin of the plane.

That would mean passengers with disabilities could only bring trained service dogs on the flight with them. 

The proposal would reverse a policy that’s allowed a wide range of animals fly. Moving forward, the definition of a service animal would strictly be limited to a dog.

RELATED: US proposes restricting emotional support animals on flights

Lisa Engelhardt said her pet pig, Mr. Humphries, is not an animal she would want to bring on a plane with her.

“Imagine having those hooves in your legs for two hours on a flight. That right there is the first issue. But It’s gotten way out of control, you don’t need an emotional support peacock, you don’t need an emotional support llama,” said Engelhardt.

But Engelhardt said it is unfortunate people who misused the option to take an emotional support animal on a plane may have ruined it for those who truly need the support. Engelhardt said her family’s world changed when they got an emotional support dog for her son years ago.

“In the very beginning my son wouldn’t leave the house, he was just a shut-in and afraid of his own shadow because of Aspergers. You’re just impacting the people that really need it. And there are people out there and I honestly didn’t know this was a thing until it impacted me,” said Engelhardt. 

Engelhardt said she hoped officials would consider emotional support animals on a case-by-case basis instead of just strictly allowing service dogs only.

“If they do just cut everything across the board and say it’s just service animals I think that’s going to impact a lot of people,” said Engelhardt.

To provide input the Department of Transportation is taking comments on their website for the next 60 days.

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