As you can imagine, I have a LOT say about the turkey, yes, like the one on your Thanksgiving table, that recently boarded a domestic airline as an “emotional support” animal accompanying a passenger. I seriously did not believe this absurd story to be real, until I researched and found it to be true.
This flies in the face of being completely and “flutterly” ridiculous because it really pushes all boundaries, and personally, I feel it mocks the entire Emotional Support animal system. I can see a cat, dog or even a bunny, but the mere fact the airline was bound by the Air Carrier Act to have to allow that bird in the passenger cabin is really beyond my comprehension.
So, let me once again state the law as it pertains to “emotional support” animals relating to modes of transportation. They are not “service” animals nor are they bound by the regulations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
When on an airplane, governed by the Department of Transportation Air Carrier Act, not the Department of Justice, Emotional Support Animals can accompany passengers, who have a note from their doctor, that this animal (of questionable species) is required for the comfort of said person. They do NOT perform any physical tasks to mitigate a disability like a true “service” dog or miniature horse (both legal service animals under the law). They serve one purpose, and that is emotional support for anxiety in public.
The people I know who know turkeys..the animals, not the people…say these birds can be fairly nasty. What insures this bird will not have a meltdown at the most inopportune time, like 32,000 feet up, hurtling through the skies in a metal tube with passengers, who have no way to escape the sight or smell of this bird. Trust me, there is no way to regulate the bowels of a bird on an airplane!
Now some of you may say, what is the difference if a stinky dog or cat is on board, versus a turkey. Well, for starters, emotional support animals should adhere to the same standards as service animals…clean, always under the control of the handler, house-broken and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs can be trained to relieve on command, and are usually not fed or given water hours before a flight so there is no problem with relieving, at will, on board the aircraft during flight.
Just so you know, currently there is a lot of discussion regarding the gross advantage taken by many passengers with their emotional support animals on airplanes. Horror stories of many different types of animals boarding airplanes have made headlines the past couple of years. Passenger complaints have skyrocketed, thus making this discussion more critical that something needs to be done.
So, in closing…my take on turkeys on airplanes? Pass me the cranberry sauce and dressing please.