When Pigs [Don’t] Fly: Woman Ordered Off Flight With 70 Pound Pig

HT_when_pigs_fly_sk_141127_16x9_992A woman on a USAIR flight to Washington at Bradley International Airport was ordered off a flight after she carried on her 70-pound pig service animal. The woman said that the pig was needed to deal with her anxiety issues.

The anxiety of passengers however peaked when the pig pooped in the aisle and began to squeal.

Emotional support animals are allowed on commercial flights under federal rules. Notably, in June 2004, the FAA felt the need to issue a bulletin on “guidance about unusual service animals.” As a general rule, such animals are allowed to sit at the feet of a passenger or in some cases on his or her lap:

A. Placement. A service animal may be placed at the feet of a person with a disability at any bulkhead seat or in any other seat as long as when the animal is seated/placed/curled up on the floor, no part of the animal extends into the main aisle(s)of the aircraft, the service animal is not at an emergency exit seat and the service animal does not extend into the foot space of another passenger seated nearby who does not wish to share foot space with the service animal.

B. Placement of lap held service animals. Lap held service animals (such as a monkey used by a person with mobility impairments) are discussed in the preamble to DOT Part 382 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel, issued in 1990(FR Vol. 55, No. 44 361990, pg. 8042). They are service animals that need to be in a persons lap to perform a service for that person. This service animal may sit in that persons lap for all phases of flight including ground movement, take off and landing provided that the service animal is no larger than a lap-held child (a child who has not reached his or her second birthday).

This rule does not apply to certain “unusual animals”:

Unusual Service Animals. On May 9, 2003, the Department of Transportation issued Guidance Concerning Service Animals in Air Transportation. Unusual service animals pose unavoidable safety and/or public health concerns and airlines are not required to transport them. Snakes, other reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders certainly fall within this category of animals. The release of such an animal in the aircraft cabin could result in a direct threat to the health or safety of passengers and crewmembers. For these reasons, airlines are not required to transport these types of service animals in the cabin, and carriage in the cargo hold will be in accordance with company policies on the carriage of animals generally.

Now here is the interesting factoid. Pigs are expressly mentioned as permitted on a case-by-base basis:

Other unusual animals such as miniature horses, pigs and monkeys should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider are the animals size, weight, state and foreign country restrictions, and whether or not the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or cause a fundamental alteration (significant disruption) in the cabin service. If none of these factors apply, the animal may accompany the passenger in the cabin. In most other situations, the animal should be carried in the cargo hold in accordance with company policy.

The large pooping, squealing pig was reject in this case to the relief of the other passengers.


Source: ABC News

40 thoughts on “When Pigs [Don’t] Fly: Woman Ordered Off Flight With 70 Pound Pig”

  1. @ rafflaw

    You might with a huge amount of work house train a pig. Little pot bellied pigs have been known to use a litter box and you can take them outside like a dog.

    BUT>>>>> Have you ever smelled pig excrement? It is the most God awful smell in the world. The college I went to had a large AG department and the pig barn, even though it was very clean and well maintained, stank to high heaven. When the wind was in the right (or wrong) direction everyone on campus, and in town, would just gag.

    I can’t imagine being trapped in a plane with an incontinent unruly pig. It’s bad enough with toddlers 🙁

  2. 70 pound comfort pig? If a legitimate doctor can provide a “prescription” for the animal, I have no problems, unless it can’t control its bladder.

  3. If the dog can detect oncoming siezures and provide warning, he is not a “comfort dog,” he is a SERVICE DOG. They are very different things. A service dog allows its person to function and/or protects life. Its function is documentable and the owner can (and does) carry a certificate which describes not only the real need but also certifies that the animal has been properly trained to fulfill that need.

    A comfort dog is a pet, and the only certification is some quack pshchologist saying that the person should have the pet with them at all times.

  4. One wonders if the TSA thought it’d lost one of its own when the irksome ungulate was presented for “enhanced screening” at the security checkpoint.

  5. Bailers, No disrespect taken. Comfort dogs are valuable for people w/ seizures, like this Iraqi vet. The dog can sense the seizure before the person can and directs them to sit or lay down immediately. There are LIMITED legit reasons for comfort dogs. We agree, the balance has shifted and it’s way too liberal accommodations.

  6. This minority was not protected. She had to leave the plan because her animal did not comply with the regulations (and was apparently disgusting). I’m not sure I understand why we are all whining and moaning venerating this woman’s personal whims.

  7. If you are on SSI Disability or welfare, collecting food stamps and really really want to milk the system, you get a certificate that says you need a service animal. More benefits, more food stamps. MORE MORE MORE.

    Plus if you also spend your days pretending to be homeless at the intersection of the Walmart store or Costco stores or other busy roadways, you can get people feeling more sorry for your pet than you. Little kind hearted ladies might give you some money so you can buy liquor on your way home to your subsidized apartments.

    Think that is made up. Nope. Actually is the case. I’ve heard the (pretend) homeless after their ”shift” is up talking about going home to their apartment and what shows they are going to watch on their flat screen televisions as they were walking past me on the sidewalks.

    Service animals are great for those who actually need them. But by and large they are a giant scam.

  8. Nick,
    We’re making policy now based on the needs of the few and ignoring the majority. No disrespect, but if you need an animal for “comfort”, which is a highly subjective term, to fly then maybe you shouldn’t be flying. There are probably 100 or more people on the plane that now need to make room for that one person that can’t get through life without a pig apparently. I understand the need to protect the minority, but the balance has tipped way too far to one side.

  9. I read a book about an Iraq war veteran whose life was saved by him getting a comfort dog. There is a real purpose for them. But, there are too many abuses, this post showing one of many.

  10. Pogo, I see almost as many “comfort dogs” in San Diego than I see handicapped stickers, another scam. There are people who need comfort dogs and handicapped parking, but it is horribly abused, as are all special entitlements offered by the govt.

  11. Having a dog to help the blind get around is one thing. Service animals that are military or safety related is the same.

    But a pig to help with anxiety? This country has become too accommodating. At what point did accommodations and tolerance (because the two are closely related) become a one way street?

  12. As funny as this appears, this is becoming a serious matter.

    This case is like the transgender demands for accommodation, or gay marriage demands that all bakeries serve them, where societal norms are treated as an evil to be righted, and personal whims -no matter how disruptive- are to be not only tolerated but venerated, and disagreement must be punished.

    Failing to bow to their unceasing demands leads them to react in a narcissistic rage. The Ferguson riots are similar: it mattered not whether Michael Brown attacked the cop (repeatedly violating societal norms); his death meant they must riot.

    Our nation of special snowflakes has become an intolerable blizzard.

  13. Having flown in and out of Bradley Field many times, it is like a big bus station. So, having a pig there seems about right.

  14. So it’s back home, board the pig, and then back to the airport to miss whatever she was on her way to. Great anxiety relief animal. They’re out there folks. At first sight, they look just like a normal person, but they’re not.

  15. I once shared a cramped seat on a tiny airplane with an army bomb-sniffing labrador, who spent the flight with her head in my lap and her rear end in front of her handler’s seat. I was thrilled to have the chance to be of service.

    A “service pig” for an anxious person… not so much.

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