Veterans Join Airlines in Pushback Against Conduct Unbecoming a Support Dog


WASHINGTON — It seemed, in retrospect, a bit of a low point — a medium-size dog racing through an airplane at 30,000 feet, spraying diarrhea toward passengers throughout the cabin.

But according to some transportation officials, it was an increasingly typical scene that has stemmed from the growing use of comfort animals on airplanes — a situation that some injured veterans say is making life harder on them.

The airline industry, which has been working to curb the number of comfort animals onboard, has recently found an ally among the nation’s war wounded. Some veterans and service dog organizations say the overuse of untrained dogs, pigs, rodents and amphibians — and, at least once, a small sloth — as emotional support companions has made it difficult for veterans to get acceptance for their properly trained service animals on airplanes and beyond.

“Fortunately and unfortunately, due to this extended war we’ve been having, service dogs have come to the fore to show the amazing benefits they provide medically,” said Jason Haag, a retired Marine captain who runs an organization that matches service dogs to veterans of the post-Sept. 11 wars.

Jennifer Steinhauer

2019-11-23 13:08:40

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