Weekly ESA Report October 31st: ESA Cat Smuggled on British Flight and More!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

dog reading emotional support animal newsLike those in the US, airlines across the pond seem to be struggling with people breaking ESA rules to get their animals onto flights. Read on to learn about the woman who tried to smuggle her emotional support cat onto a British Airways flight, and about the beautiful efforts of a rescue foundation that is training up rescues to assist vulnerable veterans!

Passenger Attempts to Smuggle ESA Cat on British Airways Flight

In yet another case of passengers behaving badly this week, U.K. airline British Airways caught an emotional support animal owner attempting to flout the rules.

Unlike the U.S., there are no laws on emotional support animals in the U.K opposed to the two laws in states. Instead, the focus is on service animals. Primarily, guide dogs, being able to accompany their owners on flights.

According to British Airways, the culprit was an American passenger that boarded a Glasgow flight bound for London on October 21. The woman allegedly attempted to sneak a stowaway cat onto the plane without informing the crew.

British Airways is an airline that carries service dogs free of charge in the cabin of all flights. They must carry certification for an organization that is a member of an accreditation body for assistance (service only in this case) dog organizations worldwide. Organizations include Assistance (Service only in this case) Dogs International (ADI) or International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF).

The British Airways passenger reportedly attempted to smuggle the cat onto the plane in her hand luggage. However, the crew discovered the pet when a flight attendant requested that they woman stow her luggage in the overhead compartment due her exit row seat. When the passenger refused to do so, the crew became aware of the cat and removed the woman from the plane.

The Independent reported that a British Airways representative stated:

“Cats cannot travel in the cabin but recognized [service] dogs are always very welcome and travel completely free of charge alongside their owners on board. Other animals will need to travel in the hold but will be just as comfortable in a carefully controlled environment. The transportation of pets is handled by our sister company, IAG Cargo. They have decades of experience flying animals and will look after our customers’ pets as if they are their own.”

While more U.S. airlines move to tighten their policies on ESAs (which CertaPet fully supports), policies on international carriers are often stricter than those in the United States. Airlines say it is the responsibility of the passenger to check the appropriate policies before trying to board a flight with their pet or ESA.

Yes, ESAs are protected by federal law in the U.S. (ACAA and FHA), but these rules don’t apply every else in the world! If you do intend to fly with your ESA in the U.S., be sure to research the individual airline’s ESA policy. Their planes. Their Rules.

british airways plane in sky

Animal Rescue Foundation Provides ESAs to Military Veterans

The Animal Rescue Foundation announced this week that 19 new rescue dogs have been given the tick of approval to become emotional support animals for vulnerable military veterans.

The Pets and Vets program, launched in 2011, focuses on training rescue dogs to become ESAs for veterans. Many veterans suffer from conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. The Pets and Vets program aims to match ESAs with those suffering these conditions.

The Animal Rescue Foundation was started by baseball great Tony La Russa and his wife in 1993. Among other valuable programs, it also provides free veterinary wellness clinics for rehomed pets.

La Russa and his wife were motivated to start the ARF when a stray cat ran onto the playing field, during a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees. Upon finding that there were no ‘no-kill’ shelters in the Bay Area, La Russa and his wife rescued the cat and started the foundation.

The latest ‘graduating class’ of these canine helpers was more than double that of last year. The program is expected to continue to grow.

old man sitting on wall with emotional support dog

An emotional support animal can provide comfort and companionship to people suffering from mental illness or conditions. If you are thinking about getting an ESA, take our free 5-min pre-screening to see if you qualify! If you do, we will put you touch with a licensed mental health professional who can help you get your ESA letter in as little as 48hrs!

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.