Calls increase for crackdown on people flying with fake service animals

Posted at 6:47 PM, Dec 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-28 18:48:14-05

There are a growing number of complaints about holiday travelers taking advantage of rules that allow for service animals to fly for free.

Service dogs and emotional support animals are a common sight at airports. But now, some are calling for tougher rules to prevent abuse of the system.

It’s a practice many of us have seen for years, people bringing service and comfort animals with them on flights.

But now the US Department of Transportation and other agencies say countless pet owners are breaking rules by fraudulently flying with their pets at no charge, while claiming they're dependent on them for service.

Imposter service dogs can often be spotted in a purse, growling, barking or acting aggressively.

Federal regulators are now trying to come up with a solution, while still protecting the rights of those with legitimate needs.

Airport workers can ask pet owners limited questions to verify the pet's skills, but the presence of a harness doesn't automatically verify anything.

A letter from a doctor also helps.

Otherwise, it is roughly $125 to carry non-service animals in the cabin and shipping a pet as cargo ranges from $75-$250.

We've Learned the problem has gotten so bad, some with service animals have been bumped from their flights due to limited space.