“It’s important she is with me.”
Waguih Siag flew all the way from France with his pooch Joy. He says he suffers panic attacks and seizures and Joy is trained to alert him when she senses oncoming symptoms.
“Some people don’t understand. It’s a necessity,” Siag says.
While Siag has the proper documents for his service dog, Delta airlines is cracking down on those who don’t.
The airline now requires a document stating the animal is trained. It also wants a letter to prove the animal is in good health and is up to date with his shots.
Plus, if it’s an emotional support animal and not a certified service animal, a letter from a healthcare professional 48 hours before the flight.
Amanda Regan is a therapist and frequently has clients asking her to declare a need for an emotional support animal.
Those who abuse the system may be putting other passengers at risk.
Delta, which carries 700 animals a day, 250,000 a year says it’s noticed bad behavior by animals like biting or urinating and those incidents have increased by 84 percent in the past year.
If nothing is done to protect the passengers, some fear those with real disabilities may suffer.
“Eventually everyone just wants to bring their pet and at some point an animal is going to bite somebody or cause havoc and it will genuinely affect people who have disabilities,” Reagan says.