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New Federal Rules Demand Accountability for Pet Mishaps on Planes

If you and your pet are frequent flyers, you may want to take note of recent rules issued by the United States Department of Transportation. Starting January 1, 2015, all commercial airlines will be required to file a report any time a pet dies, is injured, or is lost during the trip. The new rules don’t just apply to personal pets -- animals being shipped or transported by breeders and other services are also covered. The rules are a response to numerous incidences across all major airlines and are intended to make air travel providers accountable for their actions when transporting people’s companion animals. They should also help pet owners with choosing the safest airline for their animals. The law only applies to dogs and cats flying with domestic airlines on planes with more than 60 seats. According to DOT, forcing the airline to cover all possible animals would be burdensome due to the sheer number of animals carried in commercial shipments. Reporting the death of every fish, rodent, or insect is considered outside of the realm of possibility, so DOT focused in on the pets people tend to bring along. Airlines are also required to report how many animals travel with them each year so pet owners can better understand the rate of incidence. Some airlines have changed rules regarding the animals they will and will not accept as cargo; Delta, for example, will not take snub-nosed dogs and cats due to their inherent risk factor for breathing problems. Overall, flying with your pet carries a certain level of danger but the new rules should assist pet lovers with make a more informed decision.
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