ESA Weekly News December 22nd: New Airline ESA Laws on the Way in 2020?!

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  • ESA Weekly News December 22nd: New Airline ESA Laws on the Way in 2020?!

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: April 16, 2020

cat reading the esa news

Every week, we bring you the latest emotional support animal news pieces. Today, we’re delivering on that promise. Our first story is about changes that may be coming to ESAs on planes. The second is about an Iowa man who wants his emotional support coyote back. Sit back and get caught up!

ESA Travel Laws Are Under Scrutiny

The 2010s were rife with complaints from passengers and airlines about incidents involving ESAs. An 80-pound pig was removed from the plane after defecating in the aisle. A support peacock was turned away by United Airlines. A dog bit a flight attendant, who needed stitches upon landing.

As a result, airlines issued new emotional support animal policies. They’ve covered banning certain breeds from flying to putting certain species on the no-fly list. But according to some in the industry, this is still not enough.

This is why Airlines for America, a lobbying group, is pushing for new ESA travel laws. The organization wants only “trained” emotional support animals on planes. Untrained ESAs should be viewed as pets, representatives said.

For now, it’s unlikely much will change. ESAs don’t need to be trained to have their legal status. They’re protected by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Nonetheless, changes to the law could be in the cards for 2020.

emotional support dog traveling


Man Demands to Be Reunited with His… Coyote?

Matthew Stokes is caught in a legal battle for custody over his “emotional support” coyote. He met Drifter, his companion animal, a few months back. The young coyote had been abandoned in Stokes’s backyard in the outskirts of Waterloo. Since then, the two have been inseparable.

Now, Drifter is at a wildlife rehab agency in Iowa. A neighbor had seen the pup roaming around the neighborhood and corralled him. Stokes wants his companion back, but officials say “no can do.” They call Drifter a “wild animal,” not a domestic one.

Recently, the man has gotten an ESA letter from his health professional and is in the process of getting a special license so he can house a “dangerous animal.”



CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

We’re always happy to see tighter regulation of ESAs on planes. But we don’t agree with Airlines for America. ESAs offer much-needed emotional support to their owners. And the law says they do not have to be trained. Changing these rules now would not only be unfair but also hurt millions of Americans with mental illnesses. We’ll monitor any changes to ESA policies closely and keep you in the loop.

Finally, we hope Stokes and Drifter can be reunited. They must have a deep, special bond. However, CertaPet does not agree with keeping wild animals as ESAs. It can cause problems with neighbors and authorities. Hopefully, everything will be sorted out sooner rather than later.

If you need an emotional support animal by your side, we’re here to help. Start by taking our pre-screening test for free. We’ll connect you to a licensed mental health professional. They’ll have an appointment with you and, perhaps, issue your ESA letter.

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