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DOT Clarifies Enforcement Priorities Concerning Air Travel With Service Animals

by John M. Simpson.

On August 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office) issued a Final Statement of Enforcement Priorities Regarding Service Animals (Final Statement).  This action apprises the public of DOT’s “enforcement focus with respect to the transportation of service animals in the cabin of aircraft” which DOT regulates under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).  Last year, DOT initiated an advanced notice of proposed  rulemaking under the ACAA to respond to concerns expressed by individuals with disabilities, airlines, flight attendants and other stakeholders about the need for a change in DOT’s service animal requirements.  Recognizing that the rulemaking process can be lengthy, DOT also issued an Interim Statement of Enforcement Priorities to give notice of how the statute would be enforced during the rulemaking process.  While “not legally binding in its own right,” the August 8 Final Statement provides the public with “greater transparency” with respect to the interpretation and enforcement of existing requirements by the Enforcement Office, based upon the comments that the agency has received from the public. Continue reading DOT Clarifies Enforcement Priorities Concerning Air Travel With Service Animals