Take your tort on the plane as an emotional support animal

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bryl

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Hi friends!
I've been asking around at Southwest Airlines to see if there is in fact a way to take a tort on the plane with you. Big news! You are allowed to take a "turtle" on the plane as an Emotional Support Animal. There are a few caveats- you have to be diagnosed with a mental or emotional disability recognized in the DSM, and you need your doctor to write you a note stating that they believe it would be helpful for you to have the animal with you on the plane.
Obviously this isn't applicable to everyone, but for those of you who do fit these criteria, I urge you to check it out! Southwest doesn't allow reptiles except for turtles as emotional support animals, and if your tort is turtle sized, well... I think it will work out :)
Yay! :tort::tort::tort:
B
 

Tom

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It saddens me that we are forced to consider things like this because of other ridiculous policies that exist.
 

bryl

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wellington said:
That's good for those who would need it. I just would not want to be ticket and tortoise in hand and then not let on:(

So true! According to the staff at my airport, if you have a doctors note they legally have to let you on. I think that the first few times I try it though, I will come a little early and have a friend wait till we get on the plane, so that just in case the airline doesn't let my tort on, someone can take him
 

leigti

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The only animal that is legally allowed according to the ADA, is a dog. Reptiles birds etc. do not count. The idea of emotional support animal, although sometimes legitimate, has turned into an easy way to cheat. It has turned into an excuse for anybody to take their animals with them at any time. This causes a problem for people with legitimate assistance animals such as guide dogs and properly trained assistance dogs. I understand the frustration of wanting to take your animal with you and not being able to, however, as a blind person I also strongly resent the fact that people cheat the system just to get what they want. Keep your tortoise or turtle at home. I transported legally. Don't cheat the system just because you want to have your pet with you, as much as I would also like that I know that I must follow the rules.
 

leigti

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My iPhone or computer read it for me. I'm sorry if I came across pretty strong in my reply, however I will be getting a guy dog soon and I have seen many problems caused by a so-called assistance or emotional support animals in public. Some are legitimate but most aren't. So it is a very touchy subject for those of us that have legitimate assistance animals. I love my little Russian tortoise, his name is Yurik. I would love to take him on a plane with me but I know that it is not the right thing to do.
 

Pokeymeg

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leigti said:
My iPhone or computer read it for me. I'm sorry if I came across pretty strong in my reply, however I will be getting a guy dog soon and I have seen many problems caused by a so-called assistance or emotional support animals in public. Some are legitimate but most aren't. So it is a very touchy subject for those of us that have legitimate assistance animals. I love my little Russian tortoise, his name is Yurik. I would love to take him on a plane with me but I know that it is not the right thing to do.

First of all, that's incredible that technology can do that now! Second, I agree with you about cheating the system. I used to work at a grocery store, and all these ladies with pathetic little dogs (sorry, not a small dog lover) in their purses would claim they are assistance dogs - Yeah right! Without proof, we gladly asked them to leave.

As for taking a tortoise on a plane, why would you want to? I think that would be very stressful for a tortoise! I would not want to put my tortoise through that. :( If someone really does need their turtle/tortoise as a comfort animal, I have no problem with that and I'm glad it's an option, but personally I wouldn't expose my tortoise to the stress.
 

StudentoftheReptile

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Tom said:
It saddens me that we are forced to consider things like this because of other ridiculous policies that exist.

I agree. I see it with dogs all the time, and there's little people can do about it, even animal control, because legally, you cannot question the person about their so-called disability.
 

wellington

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I guess, I wasn't thinking about the ones just scamming. I was thinking more about ones who really need it. Not sure there is really any that need it, but it guess there are docs diagnosing it. I'm not for pretending or faking. I worked for a lovely man, that was a paraplegic and had to see how hard it was for him too use the handicapped parking spaces. As long as I have legs or even a leg, I would never think to take one of those spaces. It burns me when I see people that takes them with no obvious reason too. I know there are some conditions that are not obvious, but, it still makes me doubt the not obvious.
I wouldn't take a tortoise on a plane either, unless your moving.
 

bryl

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Hi guys,
I appreciate your thoughtful responses! leigti, I agree that rambunctious animals can often be a disruption, especially when used "illegitimately". However, I would like to point out that in my original post I specifically indicated that you had to be diagnosed by a medical profession with a disorder from the DSM. I think it's very important that we don't consider mental health issues as less of "disorders" just because they are not immediately visible. People with mental health issues often struggle with their "so-called disabilities" for this very reason.
I don't condone cheating the system at all here, and that was not my intent. Rather, I wanted to point out the fact that, for these situations when you have a note from a medical professional, it is allowed by the airlines. In my personal opinion, if these specific conditions apply to you, there is no disruption caused to others by taking a small tortoise in a box in your backpack. If this is necessary, then I don't think it detracts from the concept of service animals in any way.
For me personally, I have been diagnosed with clinical depression and I have been prescribed SSRIs. I will be flying with my tortoise when I come home from college, as my home environment is stressful and I've found that feeding Genghis can prevent panic attacks. I know that may seem silly, but I've worked a long time to come up with coping mechanisms.
Again, I would like to stress that my original post was directed at legitimate sufferers of mental or physical conditions, and I am in no way trying to cheat or reduce the importance of service animals.
Best,
B
 

wellington

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Well, I think a few of us took your post wrong. Although you did state it correctly. Glad you are able to take your buddy with you then. I can sure see why he would help you though. Really, is there anything more calmer then a tortoise? Even my fish, although relaxing and calming too watch, can sometimes make no sense in what they are doing. I think it's great you will be able to have him with you. I would be prepared though with the persons name or have it in writing from the airlines themselves. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that most people working at the actual airlines has no idea this is allowed. Let us know how it goes.
 

bryl

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wellington said:
Well, I think a few of us took your post wrong. Although you did state it correctly. Glad you are able to take your buddy with you then. I can sure see why he would help you though. Really, is there anything more calmer then a tortoise? Even my fish, although relaxing and calming too watch, can sometimes make no sense in what they are doing. I think it's great you will be able to have him with you. I would be prepared though with the persons name or have it in writing from the airlines themselves. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that most people working at the actual airlines has no idea this is allowed. Let us know how it goes.

Thank you so much for your reply wellington! I often struggle with the concept of mental health as a recognized disease, and your response really made my day :)
And I agree, he often reminds me that if he can take 15 minutes to eat a piece of lettuce, then I can take that time to calm down before dealing with an issue! And having the person's name/number is a very good idea, perhaps I will email the specific airport a week before, so they can call my MD's office with questions.
 

wellington

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Just so you know. I don't think anyone of us thinks that mental illness is not real. It's that we thought that someone, you, were going too fake having an illness to get to do something. It was the way of reading your post, not the way you wrote it.
 

leigti

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Hello, this issue is very touchy because people don't understand the many aspects of it. Mental illnesses are real, and the legitimate use of "emotional support animals" is very beneficial to many people. But that label has gotten a bad name because of the people who do take advantage of it. It sounds to me that bryl is playing by the rules and that person does not have to explain to anybody what their mental issues are. Unfortunately people always seem to jump to their own conclusions, usually making a much bigger deal out of the situation and it really is. I do think that people need to know that there are three different sets of rules towards service animals in the public.

The airlines have their rules, HUD has their rules, and the ADA rules cover everything else such as businesses like restaurants etc. four instance a tortoise is not a loud in a restaurant or a business as a support animal. Many people don't know this and it causes confusion.
 

Tom

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Here's my dilemma: I am a professional dog trainer. I have trained real service dogs for people with legitimate issues. In doing so I must sometimes takes those dogs, with a service vest, into all the areas where the "end user" will be taking them too. As such, I know exactly how the whole system works and I choose NOT to take advantage although I can justify it in my mind and it would be easy for me to do so.

I have to travel dogs on airlines several times a year. The problem is that the "requirements" for flying your dogs as excess baggage or as cargo are continually changing, and so are the people who are supposed to know what those "rules" are. Some of these people are sensible and use good judgement, others are idiots who clearly have no practical experience with animals and have no idea what they are doing or talking about. Understand that I am traveling for business. A large portion of my income comes from working my animals abroad. The people who hire me do not like surprises, hassles or added expenses and these airport counter idiots regularly cause me all of the above. Some of my dogs would literally be harmed or killed if I were to comply with all the regulations. For example. I had one high drive working dog would would literally EAT any bedding in his crate. Newspaper, towels, shavings, carpet, etc. All of it would be eaten. Not just chewed up, but swallowed. Now I just explain this to the counter people, and I never have any problem flying OUT of LAX. The problem randomly occurs when I try to fly home with the same airline and the counter person refuses to let me fly without bedding, even though it would literally kill the dog to do so. I had one United manager tell the Delta manager who was trying to help me get home that if she allowed me to fly home with their airline that way, they would be breaking their own rules TWICE. The Delta manager was literally dumbstruck, and bless her, she went out of her way to help me get home.

When I am faced with a situation like that, what am I to do? I don't want to take advantage of the system and have my dog fly at my feet on the plane, but I don't want an impacted dog on the other end either. I am perfectly happy to play by the rules and let the dog travel in the belly of the plane like its supposed to, but sometimes these small minded people force my hand. I have legitimate medical conditions and doctors notes that will allow me to legally keep my dog with me on the plane according to the rules that exists with the ADA, but I really don't NEED to have the dog with me. I can get by without it. I would rather let the blind folks or the "real" service dog people be the only ones with dogs in the passenger compartments, but the airlines have gotten more and more ridiculous with their rules and random enforcement.

I know what is best for my dog, and I should be making the decisions about what is or isn't in its travel crate. My main dog will die of old age with a slab fracture on his front incisor because some moron forced me to put water bowls in the crate for a three hour direct flight. The dog was not to be fed or watered by airline personal anyway. The new rule now is that dogs may not have any sort of chew toys in the crate with them while flying. This is ridiculous. Dogs chew to relieve anxiety. While traveling they NEED appropriate chew toys. The airlines however, paid a lot of money to some ignoramus "consultant" to tell them that dogs should not have chew toys, so now that's the policy and my dogs suffer for it. They could have just asked the guy who has been doing it professionally for 20 years and I would have told them for free.

I don't want to "cheat" the system, even though I can legally do it. I want to do it right, but the lack of customer service and the inflexibility of certain employees, coupled with rules that make no sense, are forcing people like me to do things we otherwise wouldn't. The harder they make it for "regular" people to fly with their dogs, the worse this is going to get. The "no reptiles ever" policy, is just another ridiculous example of unnecessary rules.
 

Lillysmytort

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I work for united airlines... It is unlawful for us to deny boarding to ANY animal that is deemed for emotional support. I, personally have boarded a flight and a woman had a monkey... I have also seen lizards and a chicken...
 

bryl

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leigti, I completely agree that there is not a lot of clarity when dealing with these systems, and I appreciate you giving us more information! And best of luck wtih your new service dog!
 

jaizei

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Let's try to remain respectful.

Several posts have been moved to the moderator section for discussion.
 
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