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Service/emotional support dog SCAM

Dawnybb
New Arrival

Hello,

 

Please read this article:  https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20171221/pets-on-planes-emotional-support-or-sham

 

What I experienced on a SW flight yesterday was completely unacceptable. My son and I were seated in the front row comfortably, ready for a lovely flight-- and in bounds an overweight woman and her "service dog". The flight attendant quickly and rudely made us leave the entire row for this woman. My protest as to why was never answered, and the flight attendant decided to chastise me, calling me a bad parent, for objecting to our removal. I complained to the other flight attendant onboard and he apologized and said that the dog needed space. From what I have read, the dog is supposed to be seated in front of your feet. This woman did not purchase two seats, in case you're wondering. The dog was clearly not a trained service animal. It was never with her the entire trip. It was crawling under the seats the entire time, and the crew said nothing. The woman took the leash off because she couldn't control the animal. The people in the seats behind her were trying to control it the entire time. I was taking pictures. 

 

The airlines need to get a handle on this obvious abuse of claiming animals are service dogs. In the article above, the facts are there. This has to stop. I'm taking this legally as far as I can, and will be video taping everything as I fly from now on. I make documentaries for a living, so this is easy for me to do. 

 

The customer service people have no answers and are unwilling to change in order to stop this abuse. It makes it increasingly difficult for real service dogs to travel with real people with disabilities. 

 

If you are abusing this service--shame on you. We are getting the word out on this, and we will be watching you. 

 

10 REPLIES 10

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

Ok, I understand you have an opinion, but there's  no need to post the same thing 6 times. That doesn't make anyone happy. 

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

Golfgirl1
New Arrival

bravo!

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

Golfgirl1
New Arrival

You are right! It should be posted until this scam is done away with! 

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

dsn0625
New Arrival

I agree wholeheartedly and find the increased number of “service dogs” - specifically emotional support animals - onboard quite alarming. As an A List preferred frequent flyer, I value the ability to board early and pick a good seat. With this in mind, I think that if SW continues to support this service animal scam at least let them board first - that way everyone boarding would know to steer clear of the aisle with the animal in it and no one would be displaced like you were. 

 

I assume that SW moderators review these discussion boards. If they do, I sure hope that they give input to their leadership that lots of folks are unhappy about this policy. 

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

CareforNOLA
Active Member

The challenge in dealing with "scams" is that the change in policies also make it tougher for people that need the services.  Southwest may not have to deal with issues on emotional support animals (ESAs) because an advocacy group for the airlines may take up the issue. The airlines recognize the increase but wholesale unilateral changes may draw unwanted media attention.  No good suggestions from me on ESAs except that I try to be patient and remember that I do not know that person's situation and even though I have allergies, I can reach for my medicine or change seats with free-range seating.

https://www.marketplace.org/2018/04/03/business/airline-companies-tighten-leash-animals-aboard-fligh...

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

LizaF
New Arrival

Not everyone who is disabled is blind and has a white stick plus a seeing eye dog.  The Americans with Disability Act gives me the right to travel with my service dog even though I am  "invisibly" disabled.  I need my dog to hear and then alert me to ambulance sirens and police sirens when I am driving,  smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, cooking timers, tornado sirens, my doorbell, and my cellphone when it isn't on me.  My service dog has also alerted me to a large snake rustling in the grass a few yards from my feet and strangers walking suspiciously close behind me.

 

Go ahead and film me and my service dog. I have an invisible disability called severe hearing loss, but my eyes work fine. I can easily see a witch.  I will be filming you too.  Watch for your judgemental, evil behavior on twitter and youtube. 

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

justincup
New Arrival

Liza,

 

I believe that none of this is aimed at properly-trained service dogs such as yours. It's aimed at the dogs who are flying for free because their owners went to a random person (who may or may not be a mental health professional) to get a doctor's note calling the dog an "emotional support animal." These dogs yap and wander the cabin and occasionally attack instead of being well-behaved the way service animals like yours are. You have proof that your animal was trained, I would guess. These others do not because their animalshave no training. Know that people who judge ESA's are usually smart enough to know the difference. 

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

ParSWA
Active Member

Liza, I think nearly all of us can appreciate why you are highly sensitive to this subject... as you should be. However, I hope it is clear that the problems being discussed are not, and certainly never should be, directed at responsible Service Animal owners like yourself. 


Most SA owners I've met along the way are usually very responsible and conscientious. From my experience, most of the traveler frustration with pets onboard flights is primarily with Emotional Support Animal owners. As a person who flies quite a bit, I think we can both appreciate the issue due to the abuse we have all seen.

 

Best regards to you and your wonderful friend and Service Animal.

 

 

Re: Service/emotional support dog SCAM

spacecoastbill
Active Member

@LizaF wrote:

Not everyone who is disabled is blind and has a white stick plus a seeing eye dog.  The Americans with Disability Act gives me the right to travel with my service dog even though I am  "invisibly" disabled.  I need my dog to hear and then alert me to ambulance sirens and police sirens when I am driving,  smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, cooking timers, tornado sirens, my doorbell, and my cellphone when it isn't on me.  My service dog has also alerted me to a large snake rustling in the grass a few yards from my feet and strangers walking suspiciously close behind me.

 

Go ahead and film me and my service dog. I have an invisible disability called severe hearing loss, but my eyes work fine. I can easily see a witch.  I will be filming you too.  Watch for your judgemental, evil behavior on twitter and youtube. 


Its not service dogs people are taking exception to.  They are well trained and dont interfere with anyone.

 

Its the scam ESA pets that everyone is sick of.  Not trained, aggressive, bite, etc.  $20 online gets you the letter to force the airline to let you on with the dog thanks to the ACAA.