Posing pets as service animals to fly for free

Posing pets as service animals to fly for free

It’s a growing problem: people faking their pets are service animals or emotional support animals so they don’t have to pay to fly with them.

At Sea-Tac airport, we heard dogs barking and cats meowing.

“It’s unfortunate because it brings doubt on the people who really need the service dog,” said Lindsay Gorder.  She pays $100 each way to stow her dog Spender in the belly of the plane for her trip to Texas.

“He has to fly down below and it’s not really fair for him if other dogs can go up but he can’t.”

KIRO 7 first investigated fake service animals more than a year ago.  It has become a common sight to see animals in grocery stores, restaurants, and department stores; and they are not always well behaved.

The President of the Association of Flight Attendants says they have seen an increase in both trained and untrained animals on flights in the last four or five years.  And it’s not just dogs.

“We’ve gotten reports of animals onboard, everything from a pig, to a rooster, to a goose,” said Sara Nelson.  “They could impede exit of passengers who need to get off the airplane very quickly.”

Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., Michelle Millman shows you how easy it is to get a letter that allows someone to abuse the system. 

The KIRO 7 livestream.

Watch the full report with us Wednesday on KIRO 7 News.

The KIRO 7 livestream.

Watch the full report with us Wednesday on KIRO 7 News.