ESA Weekly News Report November 29th: Update on Utah ESA Bill and Huge Dogs Cause Uproar on Delta FlightReading Time: 2 minutes
Plenty goes on in the assistance animal world every week. That’s why we’re bringing you yet another installment of emotional support animal news. This time, we have an update on Utah’s new fake ESA bill and a crazy story of how passengers reacted to two massive ESA dogs aboard a Delta flight. Grab a cup of coffee and get caught up!
Utah Punishes Fake Emotional Support Animals and Owners
In January of this year, we reported on a bill that was up for debate in the Utah House. Now, nine months after it has passed, we’re bringing you an update. What has changed? And what can Utah residents expect from this law?
Representative Jim Dunnigan and Senator Curt Bramble proposed House Bill 43 (HB43). They wanted to push back against the growing number of fake emotional support animals. The entire country has been seeing more and more ESAs crop up every day, and Utah is not an exception.
The lawmakers thought not every support animal was legitimate. Many landlords and business owners share this sentiment. In February, the bill was put to its last vote in the Senate. It passed with 29 “yeas” and no “nays.” Fast forward to March 25th, and the Governor signed the bill, putting it into practice.
Now, Utah residents can be punished for passing off a pet as an ESA. The punishment works on a case-by-case basis. However, it can go from losing their beloved pet to serious fines.
This applies to animals being passed off as service animals, too—even if they’re emotional support animals. Restaurant owners and landlords can ask for an ESA letter proving the animal’s status.
Delta Passengers Outraged at Giant Assistance Animals Onboard
Passenger complaints about emotional support animals inside the cabin aren’t new. But this time, it seemed the outrage was more than usual. As soon as two large ESA dogs settled into their seats, people took their discontentment to Twitter.
On November 15th, two huge dogs wearing “service animal” harnesses boarded a Delta Airlines flight. Each dog was as big as their owner. According to passengers, they each got a seat to themselves and behaved rowdily. Some expressed surprise at the fact the airline welcomed the animals aboard. Others expressed concern over hygiene and safety regulations.
Neither Delta nor the owner commented on the situation. It is unclear whether the animals were service animals (as their harness indicates), ESAs, or simply pets.
CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News
We’re always for new laws regulating emotional support animals. There are too many people passing off their pets as assistance animals and that has to stop. It hurts those who genuinely need their comfort companion. Thus, we’re glad to see Utah embracing this new law and hope it keeps yielding good results.
At the same time, we’re surprised Delta allowed those two dogs to fly inside the cabin. Airlines are notorious for giving animal owners a hard time when it comes to pet and ESA travels. And for good reason, since safety during an emergency can be compromised! That’s why there are size restrictions in place. Nonetheless, we hope those puppers and owners had a safe flight.
If you’re having a hard time dealing with your mental health, an ESA might be just what you need. CertaPet can connect you to a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) in your state in the blink of an eye. Take our 5-minute pre-screening test for free and see if you qualify to become an ESA owner. If you do, we’ll set you up with a licensed mental health professional who will handle the rest of the process with you!
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