Service animals abuse, veterans face consequences

By Michaela Gates, Staff Writer

It truly disgusts me that Americans that need service animals will no longer be able to access them on airlines, because people that do not need them have pushed the limits of service animals and dismissed the meaning of these wonderful animals.

In the past years people have realized that service animal regulations are aggressively loose, as they should be, and people that frankly, do not need these animals have figured out they can have them.

This has led to airlines, such as Delta to force those with service animals to register 48 hours before flying.

While this may not seem like a big deal to those of us who do not have to use a service animal, it will certainly hurt those who do.

Speaking from personal experiences, my boyfriend’s grandfather has a service animal due to his PTSD from being a combat veteran in the Vietnam War.

However, he leads an active lifestyle that often finds him traveling around the nation and even internationally to Canada occasionally.

I do not want to sound like a drum beating patriot, however this man sacrificed so much for this nation and it brings me to tears to know that his “get up and go” attitude is being shot down by people who do not actually need an animal.

While some may call me biased for my thoughts and claim that this is simply one story; I urge you to read a history book.

The U.S. has been involved in many combat situations since Vietnam and each of them have resulted in casualties outside of deaths.

According to the
CDC, over 10% of
veterans from the Iraq
war suffer from PTSD,
many of these men
happen to use service
animals to cope with their mental illness.

The best way I can describe those who use the service animal system, so they don’t have to find a pet sitter is selfish.

Men and women in uniform put everything on the line for us and they need this. In an ironic sense most of these people fought for freedom and because of privileged jerks who exposed a loophole they are losing a chunk of their freedom.

I am in no way saying that every person who uses a service animal to cope with a mental illness, who is not a veteran, is at fault.

Because those who suffer from any mental illness, no matter how or why it is deduced deserve a coping method.

However, I truly feel that when we view this issue in the perspective of veterans, there simply isn’t a logical rebuttal.

We owe everything to those in uniform, like it or not, they supply our country with daily freedoms many people take for granted.

I would argue further that we owe a great deal more to frontline veterans, who tend to suffer more from mental illnesses post-war and this whole situation is a prime example of how we aren’t paying their service back.

These people did not ask to bear the mental scars of war and now when they have a chance to cope with them and regain freedom lost by fighting their mental illness, we strip it away and decide to make regulations.

I do not blame Delta though, they made a business decision based on the fact that they can’t have planes full of animals.

However, we as a society, have taken an advantage of loose laws put in place for the mentally ill and it needs to end.

Get a dog sitter and grow up, some people physically and mentally cannot travel without a service animal; do not strip their right over selfish reasons that cannot be justified.

Again, if you actually need one, please get a service animal, however if you don’t, better society and do not try.

Photo Courtesy: The New York Times


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