'Emotional Support Pig' Kicked Off Flight

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 02, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A woman who brought a pig on board a commercial airliner as an "emotional support animal" was asked to deplane after the pig reportedly defecated.

The woman was allowed to bring the animal on board the U.S. Airways flight out of Connecticut's Bradley International Airport after claiming it was for her emotional health, reports The Washington Post. U.S Department of Transportation rules generally allow for support animals on commercial flights, in addition to service animals.

What's the difference, and where did this flying pig land?

Service Animals

Although many people and business owners may confuse the two, there is a legal distinction between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals are animals allowed where pets otherwise are not as an accommodation to a person with a disability under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to United States Department of Justice, only dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability are considered service animals.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals, on the other, hand, are not regulated by the ADA and are thus subject to laws created by individual cities, states, or businesses. Airlines generally allow support animals on board aircraft if the animal is not disruptive or does not pose a danger to other passengers.

U.S Airways emotional support animal policy provides that "[t]o travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal in the cabin, you must provide documentation on letterhead dated within 1 year of the scheduled initial flight date from a licensed mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed clinical social worker) or a medical doctor specifically treating your mental or emotional disability."

In this case, it's unclear whether the woman failed to show documentation for her pig or whether the flight crew deemed the pig's on-board accident and subsequent vocalizations as being disruptive. Either way, this little pig was forced to find alternate means to get all the way home.

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