Disability Group Opposes Regulations on Service Animals on Flights

  • January 24, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: David Card
202.408.9514 x122

Washington, DC – Statement from the National Disability Rights Network’s Executive Director Curt Decker on the Department of Transportation’s proposed regulations of service animals on flights.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Department of Transportation is taking such a restrictive view on the use of service animals. These proposals will make it much harder for people with disabilities to travel. It’s unconscionable that the DOT is putting convenience for the airline industry ahead of the rights of people with disabilities to travel freely like all other citizens.

“We acknowledge that some people have misrepresented themselves and their pets as people with disabilities with service or emotional support animals. But it is rare. These proposals are a vast overreaction to an uncommon problem.

“The current DOT regulation already permits airlines to require documentation for people who are flying with emotional support animals. Requiring additional documentation and attestation, and imposing additional costs on passengers with disabilities, is overly burdensome and discriminatory.

“A singularly terrible proposal is the restriction on the size of service animals. This is entirely due to airlines reducing space between rows and squeezing passengers into smaller and smaller seats, so small that there is now no longer room for a service animal on some planes. Cramped space on planes is a nuisance to all travelers, but it now prevents some people from traveling at all and is supported by these proposed regulations.”

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities.

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides free legal advocacy services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

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