Service Dog Registry for “intangible injuries” for veterans
Retired Army Sergeant In April 2014, Kevin Crowwell boarded a flight with his wife and his psychiatric service dog, Bella, from Miami to Key West. They are heading to a couple’s rest home sponsored by the Injured Warrior Project.
Crowell was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder during the deployment in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. He said he made sure that the Golden Retriever was properly recorded by telephone a few days before the trip.
However, Crowwell said that the boarding agent refused to let him sit in the seat on the aircraft bulkhead, and Bella could sit comfortably in front of him because “pets” were not allowed there. When Croyle got off the plane to explain his situation, an airline representative made a request to Bella to strictly oppose the proposed service dog guide.
Retired Army Sergeant Kevin Crowell sits with his psychiatric service dog Bella.
Courtesy of Kevin Crowell
According to veterans, this situation triggered Crowell’s post-traumatic stress disorder, turning a relaxed holiday into a “catastrophe caused by huge anxiety.” The family missed a flight to Key West and drove home for six hours. Crowwell later sued American Airlines, and the Department of Transportation found that the airline failed to adequately train its employees on how to accommodate passengers of service animals.
“Bella helped me through the toughest times of my life,” Crowwell said. “But the travel challenge is followed. My wife refuses to travel with Bella, which is very stressful.”
Crowwell is not alone. Many veterans and active service personnel use psychiatric service dogs to help alleviate the daily challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and military trauma – these conditions are what service dog experts call “intangible injuries.” Now, the service dog community is targeting the dog certification system to simplify veterans’ travel and leisure activities, and like Crowell, they are frustrated by the hardships and shame of travel.
“Their life is getting smaller and smaller”
“Most of our graduates would rather not fly,” he said of veterans who have already passed the K9s For Warriors pairing and training program. “We realize that their lives are getting smaller and smaller, because fake and undertrained service dogs, we want their lives to grow bigger. We hope they have a chance.”
Diamonds refer to this year’s controversy surrounding the influx of pets with emotional support or service animals.
The Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 did not define emotional support animals, creating an opportunity for enterprising passengers to transfer their family pets as ESAs to avoid paying pet fees. The legislation proposed in Congress in April will make more stringent changes to the ACAA.
(Left) Bruda J. Faulkner, co-founder of the Army Veterans and the Truman Foundation, sits with her service dog, Truman. (Right) His vest includes a patch that identifies him as a post-traumatic stress disorder and a disabled veteran service dog.
Claire Hubbert / NPR
Psychiatric service dogs are different. They perform tasks to interrupt psychological and emotional crises, such as letting their owners wake up from nightmares, distracting their painful memories, and making room in crowded areas. Unlike emotional support animals, psychiatric service dogs are protected by the US Federal Disability Act. Even so, the ADA does not set behavior standards for service dogs and does not require any training.
“There are no real comprehensive standards for the behavior or tasks of all service dogs. There are many reasons, one of which is that there are so many types of service dogs,” said Hira Gofi, vice president of the government. The relationship of the American Kennel Club. “But the problem many people worry about is that we see that many undertrained service dogs actually pose a threat to public health.”
In January of this year, a virus photo of an emotionally supported peacock attempting to board a United Airlines flight prompted the airline to tighten its policy on emotionally supportive animals. United says that year after year, the number of passengers boarding with ESAs has increased by 75%.
According to a review submitted by the shipping company to DOT, American Airlines stated that in the past three years, the number of animals supporting animals was three times that of their aircraft – birds, sloths, kangaroos and pigs – rather than service animals.
Americans describe the “zoo-style atmosphere” of aircraft cabins with emotionally supportive animals, which are usually registered online by for-profit companies that offer neon “support animal” vests and paper certificates for a fee.
Last year, an American Airlines flight attendant recorded in a flight service report: “The lady with the dog is lying on the floor and comforting the dog.”