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Needing a health certificate to fly?

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Mordecai-Ret- ired SD

Missing my SD- friends!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 7, '09 8:27pm PST 
In December we flew to LA with no problems. On Monday I went to the airport to check my bag for a flight to Nashville. They(United) asked me my dog's health certificate. I said, "A health certificate for a service dog? Is this new? If so, why wasn't I told? When I made my reservation for this flight, I told them about my dog." I think health certificates are needed for ESAs but my dog is not an ESA. They said that if he's not an ESA or guide dog, then I have to have something that says what he is. This person obviously did not know what they were talking about. I told them I'd show them the IDs I have for my dog. I first showed them the tag I got from the State of CA. Wasn't good enough. So I pulled out the Service Animal Verification Card from my university's disability center tand that was good enough for them. How odd.
I'm so bewildered! Is needing a health certificate something new for 2009? Has anyone else heard anything about this?
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Josephine

Yeah, I can do- that, but I- won't!

moderator
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 7, '09 8:32pm PST 
nope, you don't need one. It is good to have one, though. Sometimes, depending on where your destination is they will ask. On my way to Europe, they ask but only because of the customs into Germany. My experience is that they ask for proof of rabies in general. But I guess different people have different experiences.
http://sdog.danawheels.net/travel.shtml
But there is no requirements for HCs for SDs.
Good luck for you, sonja
Ollivander

Super Silver- Service Spoodle
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 7, '09 11:12pm PST 
Don't forget that the ACAA recently changed its regulations for service dogs. Now any service dog that assists someone with a mental health disability has to provide a letter from their psychologist or psychiatrist on their official letterhead stating that the person has a mental health disability as defined in the DSM-IV, and that the service animal is medically necessary. The letter must be dated in the past year and must also include the health care provider's license number. Note that this is *only* required for SDs assisting people with mental health disabilities and not any other type of service dog. Total discrimination!!!

So I am wondering if this is what you were running into? Confusion over the new laws? Technically I believe they aren't supposed to go into effect until March or May (it's an M month I believe, just can't remember which) but they said the changes were clarification of existing policy so many airlines are implimenting them already. However, the new regs never require a health certificate for a service dog, nor do they for an ESA.

Here are the new regs so you can read them for yourself. I recommend printing out the parts relevant to service dogs and bringing them with you so that if you run into trouble you can show them the regs.
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Harley, SD,- CGC, TDI

Super Service- Boy!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 6:36am PST 
Psychiatric conditions are medical conditions and your PSD alerts to them, making them a medical alert dog.

Edited by moderator Wed Jan 14, '09 4:50pm PST

Edited by forums moderator
Mordecai-Ret- ired SD

Missing my SD- friends!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 7:22am PST 
Mordecai is a PSD and I'll be establising a relationship with a new therapist soon so I'll get a letter from her. I could probably get one from the MFT my husband and I see, but I'm not sure.
But I've always said that Mordecai is med. alert because most people don't understand PSD and I don't want to explain my issues to them. My psychiatric condition does cause medical problems and when Mordecai stops the pysch. condition, the medical problems are lessened. Therefore, I have no problem saying medical alert.
I'll be seeing my vet later this month and I'll get a health certificate from her, just in case.
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Ollivander

Super Silver- Service Spoodle
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 7:43am PST 
You could say that your dog is a medial alert dog, but the regs specifically state that any dog that assists with a mental health disability (no matter how it assists) must provide the letter from a mental health care professional. This is total BS in my opinion... they say these rules are needed because of fakers. Well, I've got news for the ACAA, if they are making it more strict for PSDs, the fakers will switch to impersonating seizure alert or other dogs next. Plus, since when is it OK to discriminate against an entire class of citicens based on the fact that someone else might break the law? Sheesh! Honestly I wouldn't mind if they required documentation from all SDs (in fact I'd welcome that as airplanes I think have the highest rate of fakers), but to require it only from one class of SD is just wrong.

However in practice, yes you could just say medical alert and hope that they don't decide your verbal assurance isn't "credible".
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Mali

Mali Woo
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 10:07am PST 
It sounds like a class action suit in the making to me!
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Scooter

Work hard; Play- harder.
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 7:55pm PST 
Mordecai, just having a health certificate with you isn't going to do you any good. They are only good for 10 to 30 days depending on what kind of form they are issued on. Your rabies certificate is the only paper that is good longer (for a year in most cases).
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Member Since
12/20/2008
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 7:58pm PST 
I thought they only required letters for emotional support animals, not service animals required for any condition.

Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Maybe all us PSD handlers should take a trip together?
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Ollivander

Super Silver- Service Spoodle
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 8, '09 8:08pm PST 
Guest, the ACAA regulations were recently changed. They demote any service dog that assists with a mental health disability to ESA status. ESAs and SDs taht assist people with mental health disabilities both have to provide a letter from a mental health professional on their letterhead with their license number, dated in the last year, stating the animal is needed either during the flight or at the destination, and that the person with the animal has a mental health disability as defined in the DSM-IV. They also have to give a certain number of hours notice, can't remember how much, in order to fly. No other type of service dog has to provide this documentation.

I am looking forward to challenging this discrimination once Ollie is a full service dog. Until then he will be flying as an ESA, and I have no problems complying with those regulations for ESAs.
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