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The new pet scam

 
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  #1  
Old Dec 25, 2011, 11:04 PM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 7

I flew my last commercial flight last night. I loath Continental airlines.

Here is the new pet scam. If you go to a doctor they can write a note that allows you to claim your pet as a "comfort animal." This cannot be questioned by the airlines. It is as de facto as it gets.

If you do this there are a ton of benefits (each airline will vary) - much of this covered under various ADA and DoTrans regulations:

1) You do not need to keep you pet in the carrier. You can play with it and even take it on parade around the plane.

2) You do not need to pay the $100 "pet" fee.

3) Since it is technically a "service" animal you can use this scam to avoid arbitrary limit on the number of pets on the plane.

If you want to be even more clever there are places online that sell service dog vests.

I hate traveling with dogs. They just give me the creeps. It could have been the result of some childhood trauma - I do not know. I find it easy in most cases to avoid places with dogs.

I suppose I understand how people get attached to pets. I am also extremely appreciative of real honest work dogs working. But unless they are urban rescue dogs, I really do not think they belong in the confined spaces of a packed commercial airliner.

There are not other animals that bother me. I am quite comfortable around all sorts of reptiles, birds, wild and farm animals.

I am putting this out in HOPE that more and more pet users will abuse the system to show how stupid it is - a variation on the Cloward-Piven Strategy.

Maybe one day there will be one airline that offers no pet flights.

I was also thinking about getting a big boa as a "service animal". I wonder if that would fly. Nah, I think I will just drive from now on.
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  #2  
Old Dec 26, 2011, 5:45 AM
dc2las dc2las is offline
 
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So let me get this straight...

There must have been a dog recently on a flight of yours. For whatever deep-seated psychological aversion you have (which you hinted to yourself), you decided you hated that. You went on a public forum and ranted about laws that protect people who genuinely need a service in hopes that someday your perfect dog-free aircraft will be realized.

Thank you for (attempting to) set disability rights back 75 years, sir.
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  #3  
Old Dec 26, 2011, 9:22 AM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Not quite. You can't just waltz out of your doctors office with a note. A service animal must have ADA documentation, and be wearing an official service animal vest. Only dogs are allowed to be service animals (and in some cases oddly, small horses).

Try reading up on the laws.
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  #4  
Old Dec 26, 2011, 1:27 PM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
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You are the one that is wrong. You do not need a vest. But you CAN buy them on the internet - no ADA requirement. The dog does to be certified by the government. All you need is a doctors note. I do not know if this is true on all airlines but on at least three it is the way it is. The are not going to police it.

Yes, I would love at least one pet free airline.

Yes, it is a, want do you call it, "rant". I stand by it. And there is nothing you can do about it. If you go to a doctor, it does not need to be a psychiatrist, and say airlines give you anxiety (only the truly brain dead are not made anxious or annoyed to some degree by the current state of flying, so it is not really lying most people, just maybe a slight exaggeration for some) and little Fluffy, makes you fell better you get the note and you get the dog on the plane out of the carrier and in some cases FREE!!! Try it!!!

My friend's wife in Tulsa does it. I spoke to an airline supervisor at the airport last week and got the same info.

Go back and read my post. I am IN FAVOR of legitimate real service dogs and other real working dogs. They are highly trained and hugely obedient. I do object to "pets" being out on planes, especially those that are treated like children.

I'd say the great parallel is handicap parking, if the CAR has the sticker the CAR parks in handicap spaces no matter who is the driver. I do not know if this is legal but it happens in thousands of cases everyday. I have NEVER seen a cop challenge a person as long as the CAR has the sticker or license plate. I know one man who had a handicap sticker, when he passed away his wife used his sticker (renewed) for years. Everybody knows how easy it is to get one, in Florida and NY especially. There is no difference with the comfort dog rule. Every one is so afraid, not me, of pointing out the scams.

What I am pointing out is the scam. As the airline supervisor told me, "if they have a doctor's note, there is nothing they can do about it."

Yes, I would love a pet free airline. Not all, but at least one, so we had consumer choice. I would not ask the government to do this, but some marketing genius with a great slogan. Until this gets resolved, and it will, I will use consumer choice to simply not fly commercial. It is actually quite liberating to know I will never have to go through the cattle processing plant again.

Meanwhile, skeptics, the proof is in the pudding, not my comment or that of the airline shill or the pet-people. So Try it!! With a little bit of cleverness your pet can fly FREE. Free of costs and restrictions, and free of the horrible carrier, under the seat like baggage instead of the trusted friend, or child you never had.
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  #5  
Old Dec 26, 2011, 2:07 PM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 7

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pet...-for-pets4.htm

http://www.pettravel.com/passports_comfort_animals.cfm

http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInforma...iceAnimals.jsp

Notice NO ADA certification for comfort animals.

And a funny one.

http://crankyflier.com/2007/08/09/comfort-animals/


Here from Delta (do not look at the "pets" section of the airlines website)--


Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals
Delta complies with the Air Carrier Access Act by allowing customers traveling with emotional support animals or psychiatric service animals to travel without charge with the following conditions:
Acceptance Guidelines
May or may not be trained to perform observable functions. However, the animal must be trained to behave properly in public settings as service animals do.
Emotional support animals travel free of charge and the animal is exempt from cabin allotment.
Like service animals, emotional support animals can be transported in the cabin.
Delta requires documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a licensed mental health professional to be presented to an agent upon check in stating:
Title, address, and phone number of mental health professional.
The passenger has a mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - 4th Edition.
That the passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger's destination.
That the person listed in the letter is under the care of the assessing physician or mental health professional.
A kennel is not required for emotional support animals if they are fully trained and meet same requirements as a service animal.
Passengers should ask to speak to the Complaint Resolution Office (CRO) if they encounter any issues while traveling with emotional support animals.
---

I predict once people figure this out there will be hundreds of little Fluffy's with vests parading around airpots(sic). How many people that use handicap parking are not really unable to walk or need to get out a wheel chair? At the local gym people park in handicap spaces and to take a Spin class. When have you seen a cop check the person pulling into the space? Never?


Again, I get real service animals, like for the blind. But really people, do you not see the scam here? LOL
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  #6  
Old Dec 26, 2011, 11:29 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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The up to date as of 2011 rules:
http://www.abetterpet.com/abetterpet...hange-2011.pdf
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  #7  
Old Dec 27, 2011, 12:44 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

So, here is my take:

The ADA itself doesn't really pertain to air travel as this is generally covered by the ACAA (Air Carriers Access Act). However, I too have concerns about the current policies relating to dogs in the cabin.

Farmer John appears to take the position, to paraphrase 'I don't like dogs, and so I would therefore like to have the choice not to fly with them in the cabin'. If dogs posed no threat to other passengers, but fulfilled a vital role in providing equal access to disabled people, then that would not be reasonable... because having 'dog free' flights would exclude people with disabilities for no legitimate reason, other than Farmer John's distaste for labradors, etc.

However, I think the more fundamental question is this. To what extent does the right of disabled people to have a protected, legal right to equal access to flights impact on the rights and safety of other passengers.

I have two fundamental concerns about the right to have an unrestrained dog in the cabin of an aircraft.

First, in the event of a crash, even a survivable one, the forces are such that the dogs are likely to become missiles and could potentially kill people. An example of this type of crash would be the United crash in Sioux City.

In the second scenario, the dog could become an impediment to the rapid evacuation of an airplane, blocking egress when seconds are critical. An example would be the BA disaster in Manchester, where the cabin rapidly filled with dense, black smoke and passengers became disoriented and panicked. Imagine the chaos with a dog tripping passengers over and possible biting and attacking people out of fear.

I do not accept that dogs have a place in the cabin. I consider it to pose an unacceptable safety risk. It is clearly discriminatory not to allow disabled people to sit in the exit aisle, but it is also entirely justified. I would argue that it is equally justified to ban animals in the cabin. In many European countries animals are banned in the cabin and people with disabilities continue to travel. What task can an animal do that a human support worker couldn't do? There are some, for example service dogs which detect an oncoming seizure. However, the confines and restrictions of an aircraft cabin would not allow the disabled person to do anything about that information anyway. In reality this needs to be addressed by permitting, in strictly limited and managed circumstances, a human support worker to accompany the person with a disability, at no additional cost.
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  #8  
Old Dec 27, 2011, 1:45 AM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
The up to date as of 2011 rules:
http://www.abetterpet.com/abetterpet...hange-2011.pdf
You are confusing "Service Animal" with comfort animal.

Did you read the links?
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  #9  
Old Dec 27, 2011, 1:59 AM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
So, here is my take:


Farmer John appears to take the position, to paraphrase 'I don't like dogs, and so I would therefore like to have the choice not to fly with them in the cabin'.
I think you miss my point.

I do not dislike or like dogs. They just give me the creeps the way some people react to snakes, spiders, or cockroaches. I go out of my way to avoid them.

I do not think the government should have any say whatsoever either forcing or prohibiting pets or work dogs on planes.

I would not mind so much if the airlines put SAR dogs on a plane to get them to a disaster area to save human lives. I would just take the next flight. I just don't get pets inconveniencing people. I wonder how most people would feel if I sat down with a pet six foot boa?

That said, my main point as described by my friend's wife (and confirmed by the major airline supervisor, my experience this weekend, and my links) it is an easy scam. My prediction is that it will pick up steam until it blows up and the rules are changed. We'll see.
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  #10  
Old Dec 27, 2011, 2:11 AM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
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Posts: 7

Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
The up to date as of 2011 rules:
http://www.abetterpet.com/abetterpet...hange-2011.pdf
Let me repost the Delta Rules.

Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals
Delta complies with the Air Carrier Access Act by allowing customers traveling with emotional support animals or psychiatric service animals to travel without charge with the following conditions:
Acceptance Guidelines
May or may not be trained to perform observable functions. However, the animal must be trained to behave properly in public settings as service animals do.
Emotional support animals travel free of charge and the animal is exempt from cabin allotment.
Like service animals, emotional support animals can be transported in the cabin.
Delta requires documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a licensed mental health professional to be presented to an agent upon check in stating:
Title, address, and phone number of mental health professional.
The passenger has a mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - 4th Edition.
That the passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger's destination.
That the person listed in the letter is under the care of the assessing physician or mental health professional.
A kennel is not required for emotional support animals if they are fully trained and meet same requirements as a service animal.
Passengers should ask to speak to the Complaint Resolution Office (CRO) if they encounter any issues while traveling with emotional support animals.


These allowances are above and beyond the ADA rules and conform to the ACAA which gives the airline a degree of freedom. Easy to S-C-A-M!! Look it up.
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  #11  
Old Dec 27, 2011, 9:17 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

Quote:
I do not dislike or like dogs. They just give me the creeps the way some people react to snakes, spiders, or cockroaches. I go out of my way to avoid them.
That is a bit of a distinction without a difference. You then go on to say that you do not think the government should have any say whatsoever in whether airlines should carry animals in the cabin. However, it is ACAA and ADA legislation which has created the legal environment in which airlines have framed their policies relating to "comfort" animals and service dogs.

I agree that the system as it stands now is open to abuse. You don't address the specifics of my argument that no animals should be allowed in the cabin at all...but as it is government regulation which has opened the airlines up to this abuse, I can see no reason why regulation should not end it.
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  #12  
Old Dec 27, 2011, 2:33 PM
farmerjohn911 farmerjohn911 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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jimworcs,

There is a distinction between like and not liking (to me that is a choice) and having an aversion. To not like dogs would mean I am opposed to dogs in all cases. I am not. In fact I totally approve of military, SAR and police dogs. I just could not have a roommate with one. I just avoid being around dogs due to this aversion.

My reaction is not a conscious action in the way I do not like coffee after dinner because it keeps me up. If a waiter puts coffee on the dinner table I just ignore it. If he put a dog on the table I would have to get up and walk away quickly. It is really a bit of a mild phobia. People have all sorts of phobias of varying degrees of severity. Some of these are evolutionary remnants and some is due to trauma. Maybe one of my ancestors tribes was nearly wiped out by a pack of Lycaon pictus, or maybe as a child I had a very bad experience - don't know.

Another great example is heights. Some people are fine walking the cables on the GG Bridge. Others cannot look out the window of a two story building. Others in between. I know people that think the Skyway bridge in Tampa is gorgeous but could never drive across it. They go around on I-75, I-4, etc - can handle the causeways.

Non-libertarians have a hard time with the following concept. If I was a legislator I would vote to severely cut back all regulations. ADA and ACAA are two of them. If an airline wanted to allow people to bring on chickens loose I would not prohibit it. They would just go out of business. If an airline wanted to prohibit all animals (and children) that to me would be fine also.

That does NOT mean libertarians are opposed to ALL regulations. Just the orientation is that less is more. And they need to be specific and not arbitrarily applied. Take Wall Street regulations for example. Every financial scandal of the last two decades was ALREADY against SEC regulations. So what happens? More regulations, and all will be selectively enforced.

I think we both agree that the current regulations on animals on airlines is loosey-goosey and is currently being abused. My prediction is that when pet owners read, for example, Delta's rules, and my friend's wife keeps posting on Facebook and having dinner parties, etc, etc, more and more people will figure out the scam. Or see little Fluffy sitting on Mabel's lap and inquire. Then maybe at least one airline will say enough is enough - the optimist in me - and only allow REAL ADA and SAR dogs in the cabin and put Fluffy in cargo where it belongs IMHO. Or let me arrange travel to avoid them, including skipping the occasional flight.

My last flight was a menagerie. At least one passenger admitted to being IN on the scam.

Last edited by farmerjohn911; Dec 27, 2011 at 2:36 PM. Reason: ..
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  #13  
Old Aug 16, 2012, 12:56 AM
jhnovick jhnovick is offline
 
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Posts: 1

1. If you have the option to not fly commercially and I assume switch to charters or private plane then more power to you. Enjoy NetJets.

2. Are you seeing a sudden Noah's Arc like proliferation of comfort dogs on planes? My wife and I both fly extensively, we both have Executive Platinum status on American Airlines, and we have never seen a comfort dog on a flight. Seeing a service dog on a plane is extremely rare and a dog in a carrier under a seat is not a common site either (at best we see this on 1 out of 10 flights).

3. I understand your safety concerns but thankfully airplane accidents have become extremely rare and as I stated above my sense is that animals in the cabin are also rare so I feel that the statistical likelihood of a dog in the cabin at the time of an accident is fairly low.

4. I completely understand that you do not prefer the company of dogs and I fully support the right to your opinion. I on the other hand would prefer to be around more dogs than a lot of people but to each his own.

5. What is the impetus of your post? Were you bothered by a comfort dog on a flight or forced to sit next to one? Or do you just object to them in principal and the fact that anecdotally some may could possibly be faking it or taking advantage of a loophole? Me, I have problem with so many people cramming rollaboards in the overhead compartments and people lying about their children's ages so they can fly cheaper.

6. I am sure that there have been plenty of incidents of animals in the cabin behaving badly but the percentage of people behaving badly is probably much greater.

Just my thoughts.
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  #14  
Old Feb 16, 2016, 2:30 PM
dusty dusty is offline
 
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Originally Posted by farmerjohn911 View Post
Here is the new pet scam. If you go to a doctor they can write a note that allows you to claim your pet as a "comfort animal." This cannot be questioned by the airlines.
It would be tragic if those who abuse the system caused those who really do need the service to be denied that service. I would ask that you please just remember 3 things.

1) War veterans suffering from PTSD are one of the most common users of Psychiatric Support Dogs.

2) Service animals travel on planes to help folks with the anxiety of air travel, yes, but don't forget about the destination. Some may not need their service dogs on the plane, but do need them where they are going. If someone was going to be away for a week, you wouldn't ask them to leave their medication at home. They need it and have to take it every day. A service dog provides a legitimate medical support service prescribed by a doctor.

3) Disabilities do not have to be visible to the public. In fact, one reason the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) was enacted was to guarantee a person's privacy with respect to their medical/physical/mental health. We appreciate this protection, and do not desire to have our business known because an airline is handling it rather than a medical professional who must comply with HIPPA. Disabled people are not required to limp, struggle to breathe, wear a bracelet, or provide any other indicator of the nature of their condition in order to be taken seriously. If dishonest people hide inside this right to privacy to abuse the system, that would be unfortunate, but I fly a lot, and as another user stated, I'm just not seeing the Noah's ark situation happening out there.
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