ESA Weekly News Report May 14th: United Airlines Pet Policy Changes One Year Later

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Jack Russell reading a newspaper
In this week’s dose of emotional support animal news, we bring you two pieces. The first is a look at how the pet policy changes of United Airlines have affected traveling with pets one year after they were announced. The second is a heartwarming tale of a lost emotional support dog finding her way back home.

One Year After United Airlines’ Pet Policy Changes

On May 1st, 2018, United Airlines announced that they would be modifying their pet policy on all flights. The changes were welcomed by the American Humane Society and by the public at large. They were motivated by a concern with animal safety and wellbeing.

These changes went into effect on June 18, 2018. According to the press release, certain breeds (such as pugs, bulldogs, and mastiffs) would now be banned from traveling in the cargo hold. Due to extremely low temperatures and low levels of oxygen, there have been reported deaths of pets in United Airlines flights.

The new policy states that after June 18, all cats and dogs that are pets must be transported in the cargo hold. The airline’s emotional support animal policy differs from that of normal pets but has also seen tightened restrictions!  One of the changes is prohibiting ESAs on flights of eight hours or more. Also, for safety reasons kittens and puppies younger than four months will not be accepted as emotional support animals, in-cabin pets or service animals. The new policy requires owners to give at minimum 48 hours’ notice to fly with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal.


dog with boarding pass

Lost ESA Puppy Reunites With Beloved Owner

Madeline Sartor of North College Hill, Ohio, reported her nine-year-old ESA toy poodle as missing this past week. Her puppy helps her cope with her severe headaches and other health problems every day. As soon as Pebbles, her furry companion, went missing, Sartor did not hesitate in contacting the police.

The Ohio resident believes that someone knowingly took her dog from her yard. The woman told Fox 19 Now that strangers have often asked her to sell them her precious poodle. Living without her dog is extremely hard, she told media outlets and the police.

During the night of May 2, 2019, Pebbles went outside to go potty. A few moments later, Madeline Sartor left her living room to get a water bottle. When she couldn’t spot her emotional support puppy anywhere, she started hollering, calling her home. No such luck — Pebbles was nowhere to be found.

After putting up flyers and filing a complaint with the North College Hill Police Department, Pebbles turned up at Sartor’s house. According to a police statement, a man walking outside saw the toy poodle and took her. However, when his mother recognized Pebbles’s picture on May 10th, she contacted police officials and returned the ESA.

Pebbles and Madeline are now finally reunited, after a long, harsh week away from one another. They can now rely on one another again and live their normal day-to-day lives.


CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

We are thrilled that Pebbles and her owner are again reunited at last. Living with mental health problems is not easy, as Madeline Sartor knows. Thankfully, Pebbles’ presence makes it a lot more doable and manageable.

CertaPet also welcomes the changes made to United Airline’s pet policy a year ago. Animal safety should always be priority number one, no matter what.

It is important that people know the difference between pets and ESAs. Emotional support dogs or cats are protected by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and can travel with their owners in the cabin. Although ESAs are protected by the ACAA, ESA owners still have to adhere to an airline’s ESA policy if they want access to flights!

If you don’t have an emotional support letter yet and have a mental disability, what are you waiting for? Start out by taking our free, 5-minute pre-screening to get the process started.

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 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.