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New Guidelines Confirm Miniature Horses Can Legally Fly As Service Animals

mason.zimmer 15 Aug 2019

Air travel is often a stressful, exhausting experience and the "hurry up and wait" nature of airports can often leave travelers either bored or terrified.

So when passengers notice that they're flying with a service animal, they're often delighted to learn that a very good boy is breaking the monotony. Although dogs are the most common of these passengers, it's important to note that they aren't necessarily the only ones.

And new guidelines from the U.S. Department of Transportation have just made that abundantly clear in the case of an unlikely animal that may be tapped for duty.

Although we might not see them fill this role as often as dogs, miniature horses can make surprisingly good service animals.

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As CBS62 reported, the fact that they can grow to about two to three feet tall, weigh up to 100 pounds, and live as long as 35 years makes them sturdy and lasting companions for those in need.

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And the new guidelines have just made their jobs easier by giving them the same service animal consideration as dogs and cats.

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According to the Department of Transportation's statement, they intend to throw their enforcement power behind the idea that miniature horses are commonly used service animals.

This means that should an airline deny this type of service animal the right to fly, they can face a penalty to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

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More "unusual" service animals, however, depend on the airline's discretion as to whether they can board.

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The Department of Transportation specifically noted that airlines won't face any repercussions for denying flights to snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders.

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Putting the animal's species aside, there are other factors that can empower airlines to turn away any animal.

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For instance, if an animal is too large, too heavy, endangers the health and safety of other passengers, or significantly disrupts cabin service, airlines are within their rights to refuse it.

Of course, none of that really applies to a well-trained dog or miniature horse.

h/t: Department of Transportation

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