Chicago politician wants to clip 'fake' service animals' wings on airplanes
A service dog strolls through the isle inside a United Airlines plane at Newark Liberty International Airport while taking part of a training exercise on April 1, 2017, in Newark, New Jersey.Julio Cortez / AP file
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A powerful Chicago politician is trying to ground "fake" service animals.
Alderman Edward Burke introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would ban all such animals from the city’s two main airports — O’Hare and Midway — unless their owners can prove they are legit.
“While the intention of this ordinance is to ensure that passengers who need to be accompanied by service or emotional support animals in Chicago can do so, it is also important to put in place a set of rules that screen out any animals which do not serve a legitimate or officially recognized purpose,” said Burke, a Democrat.
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Under Burke’s proposed measure — titled "Rules Proposed to Ground 'Fake' Comfort Animals at Chicago Airports" — service animal owners would have to provide the Chicago Department of Aviation with documentation "not only from a veterinarian, but also from a licensed medical or mental health professional” proving that their creature's comfort is medically necessary.
And they would have to do so “48 hours in advance of a trip,” Burke’s statement said.
Also, owners would have to show evidence the animals have been vaccinated “within one year of travel time.”
Violators face some ruff love — eviction from the airports and fines of up to $250. And Burke’s ordinance “would not apply to trained police dogs or apply to canines under the control of sworn peace officers.”
In his announcement, Burke noted that his proposal comes after United Airlines barred a woman from bringing her emotional support peacock on a flight last month out of Newark Liberty International Airport.
Delta Airlines, Burke also noted, has announced it would revise “guidelines after passengers throughout the industry have attempted to fly with turkeys, gliding possums, snakes and spiders under the pretense of being a service or support animal.”
In fact, Burke’s proposal appears to be a duplicate of the new rules that go into effect on all Delta flights starting Thursday.