You most definitely read the title right. Apparently a passenger wanted to board a United flight with her emotional support animal, except said animal, was a peacock named Dexter. According to the Post, "the peacock’s owner, who was identified by the Associated Press as Ventiko, a photographer and performance artist in New York, told the news agency that she bought the bird its own ticket."
This is the type of crap that makes me want to pull my hair out and the reason I fully support these airlines upping their guidelines and requirements for emotional support animals. This is NOT about people not needing emotional support animals. I've done a lot of volunteer work in hospitals and I've seen what these animals can do for patients and those truly suffering from things like PTSD, but an emotional support peacock?!?
These birds are not only very loud, but they have that giant wingspan which clearly would not allow it to be in a position where it is safe and it may cause safety issues with other passengers. Emotional support animals for good reason, must be able to comfortably fit on the floor between the seats in the case of an emergency. They must also be trained as in service animals. Emotional support animals aren't just some random dog or a monkey you saw and took it home because you thought it was cute.
They are trained to literally support their owner by doing things that provide comfort like being able to calm their owners in times of distress, leading their owners to a safe spot, or alerting others if their owners are in distress, medically or emotionally. They also must be trained to follow an owners commands. (See the full guidelines for United here: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/specialneeds/disabilities/assistance_animals.aspx )
The airline CLEARLY denied the photographer and their bird a ride on their airline to which the owner posted for the bird on it's Instagram account (yes, it has one, go figure), that the bird was at the airport 6 hours before he could get a ride with it's human friends. To which the airport responded that they told the woman three times prior to her arrival for flight, that they could not allow the bird on the plane due to their protocols, but she showed up anyway with the bird.
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Actually emotional support animals aren't typically trained. Their only purpose is to calm their owner with their simple presence.
There are exceptions (like DPT and signalling) but in my opinion trained ESAs should be given a special title and be more akin to service animals.