"" Writer's Wanderings: That's A Service Animal On My Plane?

Friday, July 25, 2014

That's A Service Animal On My Plane?

Did you know that the TSA actually has guidelines for taking a service monkey through security? A service monkey? Who knew? But yes, there apparently is such a thing. Some monkeys can be trained to do things for the disabled like grasp things and do manual tasks like open doors or fetch items.

That opened the door to my curious little mind. What other animals might be considered service animals? There seems to be quite a list according to some people. I found pigs and miniature horses trained like assistance dogs. A parrot helps a man with his Bipolar Disorder. Ferrets can help detect the onset of seizures.

The one that truly amazed me (and frightened me) was a man who claimed his boa constrictor could detect the onset of a seizure and would alert him to take his medicine. How? By constricting. He wears the snake around his neck.

So I ask, quaking at the thought of sitting next to a man on a plane with a snake wrapped around his neck, are these allowed on a plane too?

While the TSA does have rules about how to take a service animal through its security, it doesn't list what it will allow. The service animal does have to be certified but that largely depends upon the regulations in the state where the animal resides. If you look at the ADA regulation changed in 2010, it states that only dogs can be recognized as service animals leaving the rest to be called "therapy animals." I'm confused. All I know is, I'm happy for the man with the snake but I don't want to be traveling with it loose on a plane.

Isn't there a movie. . .?

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