Woman Claims Ferret as Service Animal, Delays United Flight

Posted by Paige Cerulli

When a woman claimed that her ferret was a service animal, yet didn't have the documentation to prove it, she delayed a plane flight. 

A Monday night flight from Chicago to Jacksonville was delayed when a woman tried to bring a ferret on board, claiming it was a service animal.

The United Airlines flight was stalled when flight attendants requested paperwork on the ferret, but the owner did not have the necessary documents. Ultimately the woman was allowed to board with the ferret.

According to United Airlines, the incident is now under investigation.

As therapy animals become more common, and more and more people try to pass off pets as service animals, issues are bound to crop up when it comes to plane travel and public transportation in general.

In June, a Delta Airlines passenger was badly mauled by a dog who was an emotional support animal. There has also been an increase in unusual emotional support animals traveling in plane cabins, including an emotional support duck.

In 2016, Department of Transportation officials announced that they would be revisiting the current rules and policies regarding allowing emotional support animals and "comfort animals" in plane cabins. Services animals are allowed to travel in plane cabins by law, but the Department of Transportation was giving thought to requiring emotional support animals to ride in cargo, as other pets do.

READ MOREPets Becoming Fake Service Dogs Is Starting to Be an Issue

Unfortunately, there's currently a lot of confusion about the differences between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals are animals trained to provide a specific service to their owners. These can be things such as alerting owners to oncoming medical emergencies, aiding owners with mobility, or fetching items for their owners.

Emotional support animals, on the other hand, do not receive the specialized training that service animals do, and they do not enjoy the same protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What do you think of the woman's request to board the plane with her ferret? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Woman Claims Ferret as Service Animal, Delays United Flight