Does Dexter the peacock exemplify service animals?

An image of @dexterthepeacock and his owner posing for a picture earlier this year.

Courtesy of Instagram

An image of @dexterthepeacock and his owner posing for a picture earlier this year.

Helen Innes, Opinions Editor

Plane rides: always long, always tiresome, and always feeling longer than necessary. To make plane rides even more exciting, a woman recently tried to board a United Airlines with her support animal. Support animals are becoming increasingly common. With a simple internet search for, “How to make your dog a service dog,” numerous websites pop up offering just $79 for the basic therapy dog kit, according to the US Dog Registry.

So what made this woman’s pet so special that caused a social outcry? Well, the woman, an artist from New York named Ventiko, not only bought the animal a ticket, but the animal was a peacock. Yes, a peacock, confirmed by The Verge. The peacock even has its own Instagram, @dexterthepeacock, and has over 12.3K followers.

Junior Tatum Dial is indifferent to the idea of service animals, “However, if they [the service animals] are causing chaos wherever they go, this is definitely an issue that needs to be fixed.”

Since the incident, United confirmed that it would become stricter with the emotional support animal policy said The Washington Post. The shift is likely to become enforced in early March and does not allow animals to board flights that might pose as a hazard to other guests. According to The Washington Post, almost double the amount of guests flew with service animals when compared to last year, 43,000 to 76,000. The new rule is hoping to provide comfort animals only to the people who have disabilities and for veterans.

United Airlines is not the only air company tightening their policy on service animals. Delta repeatedly tightens the rules regarding comfort animals, along with American Airlines after the number of animals on flights increased 15 percent last year, according to The Verge. The Department of Transportation is also reconsidering animal policies.

Service animals provide numerous benefits to veterans and those with disabilities, including lessening depression, aiding emotional disorders, and assisting with the blind. However, the idea of “comfort animals” should not be abused. The same idea goes for people who use fraudulent Handicap Stickers just to be able to park right out in front of the grocery store or movie theater.

Dogs, and other animals, are not just “man’s best friend”, but provide comfort and healing to those who truly need it. By allowing people to abuse this comfort, airlines are creating a culture where people will ruin the ability to bring animals on flights for everyone.

 

Junior Holly Ngo added that “there should be a restriction placed on what a support animal is. There are a wide range of different types of service animals, and people should know what pet to bring to public events, like an airplane ride.”