Artist cries fowl as United Airlines refuses to board 'emotional support peacock'

Chelsea West
February 1, 2018

Live and Let Fly first broke the story of the unidentified woman and her peacock last week.

A NY artist was left spitting feathers after United Airlines told her she couldn't board a plane with her "emotional support" peacock.

A spokesperson says this was explained to the owner three times before they got to the airport.

The bird didn't meet guidelines for several reasons, it said, "including its weight and size". Dexter is a rescue pet who belongs to Brooklyn-based artist Ventiko, who documents the lovely bird's life on Instagram. The incident occurred at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday.

According to the airline's website, qualified individuals with a disability may bring emotional support "dogs, cats, miniature horses, pigs and monkeys on flights to or from most destinations".

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The airline said it had seen a 150 per cent increase in service and support animals - pets, often dogs, meant to support physically disabled passengers or those with emotional or psychiatric problems - carried onboard since 2015. Its owner, a New York-based photographer who reportedly bought a ticket for its own seat on the plane, will be voyaging cross-county to Los Angeles, according to the bird's Instagram account. Passengers traveling with an emotional-support animal will also need to present a signed letter from a doctor or mental-health professional, as well as a signed document saying the animal can behave properly during a flight.

Sanjeev KumarUnited Airlines employees recently stopped a passenger from boarding a flight with her emotional support animal in tow, because the animal was a peacock.

But the only animals allowed to travel on the bus are service animals, he said, unless the animal is in a carrier designated for the animal. The carrier claims the policy change, which starts in March, was made in response to growing complaints of untrained animals biting customers and urinating inside the airplane. The law does not apply to "emotional support" animals, however.

"I really think that the whole emotional-support animal thing is just getting out of hand", Laurie said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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