ESA Weekly News Report March 15th: American Airlines Adds Breed Restrictions to ESA Policy

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emotional support dog waiting for american airlines planeThis week, a tiny porker helps a young woman cope with a life-threatening illness, and a move by American Airlines limits options for passengers traveling with emotional support animals (ESAs). Stay with us for the latest ESA news headlines!

New American Airlines Policy Restricts Emotional Support Animals Allowed on Board

An American Airlines policy change means that passengers with ESAs other than cats and dogs will need to make alternative arrangements beginning next month. The airline announced last week that it will restrict emotional support animals to only include dogs and cats, effective April 1st.

Restrictions for service animals are not as stringent, with the airline continuing to allow service dogs, cats and also the occasional miniature horses.

If you’re planning on traveling with a support animal other than a cat or dog, from April 1st you will need to choose an alternative to American Airlines, along with Delta and United.

You will also have to submit a Vet Health Form. A USDA-approved veterinarian must complete this form within ten days of travel. It proves the animal’s clean bill of health and rabies vaccination record. You can find a fill-out form on their website.

To keep updated with any airline ESA policy changes you can always turn to CertaPet’s American Airline’s fact sheet which has all the information you need to travel with your ESA.

american airlines plane parked at airport

Emotional Support Pig (?) Provides Comfort to Young Woman with Rare Disease

Emotional support animals have been much maligned in recent months, but for many, they are an essential tool to help them to cope. Eighteen-year-old Emily Talbot, who was born with Chiari malformation (a rare condition that causes the brain to push on the spinal cord, threatening brain damage and loss in mental and physical ability) is one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans that use ESAs each day to deal with mental health issues and other difficult life situations.

18-year old Talbot counts on her emotional support pig Pita Peppa Lepew to comfort her through difficult times when dealing with her condition.

“I’ve always wanted an emotional support animal,” Talbot said. “Last year I was in the hospital for almost two weeks and it was the most terrible experience but once I got out, my parents asked if I wanted a pig and I got Pita Peppa and he became my best friend.”

Talbot says that she’s been in and out of the hospital for more than a decade, and has had more than 30 surgeries at Seattle Children’s Hospital to manage the condition. She also struggles with chronic pain that has led to her developing severe depression and anxiety.

Like many Americans struggling with health issues, Pita Peppa is a vital support system for young Talbot. The joy ESAs bring into their owner’s lives can help significantly with a range of conditions.

Talbot says she threw a birthday party for Pita Peppa on Valentine’s Day to celebrate a year of his hard work helping her stay strong.

“For Pita Peppas birthday it was on Valentine’s Day so we had cute little decorations and little hats,” Talbot said. “My family got together to play games and celebrate Pita Peppa’s birthday with a cake.”

cute emotional support pig

CertaPet’s Comment on Pita Peppa the Emotional Support Pig

CertaPet believes in the benefits ESAs provide their owners with. Although we certainly do not discredit the support which Pita Peppa provides to Talbot, the licensed mental health professionals affiliated with CertaPet only issue ESA letters to people with dogs, cats, and the occasional bunny.

If you’re thinking of getting an ESA, it’s simple to take our free online 5-minute pre-screening, and if your answers indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP).

You could then have your ESA letter in as little as 48 hrs, with no fuss!

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