Those traveling in and out of the US will need to make sure their furry friends pass animal and security screening with them, instead of bringing them as-is.
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On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that over-the-counter medicines and some geriatric medical devices are also prohibited from traveling without the owners’ consent.
The new regulations come following the recent incident on a Delta flight when a passenger was so incapacitated by her service dog that it bit several other passengers. Since that incident, passengers have been eager to ensure that no other case like that should ever happen.
“No one should ever have to worry about their furry friend becoming an airborne airborne disease carrier,” added the transport secretary, Elaine Chao.
With this in mind, every single passenger is covered by the new rule. The exact list is not yet clear, but officials at the DOT said it was likely to include medications, over-the-counter cough and cold remedies, anti-inflammatory creams, pickles, oral chewing gum, hot sauce, oil-based soaps, papaya rinds, lettuce, bread and teas.
In the past the Transportation Department has dismissed emotional support animals as a security risk but it has now reversed course, citing a “critical national need” to eliminate what the DOT has called “a web of misunderstandings and loopholes that allow for these pets to be dangerously loose in airport security and cabin areas”.
The DOT said it “concluded that providing consumers with greater control over emotional support animals and their health risks in airports and in commercial environments is a necessary federal step”.
It isn’t clear yet how exactly airlines will comply with the new rules, which went into effect immediately, but Michael C. Bromwich, president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), an advocacy group that opposes these breeds of dogs, has said that only “nonspecific, noninvasive and well-vetted animal shelters and rescue organizations can provide just such support dogs”.