NATIONWIDE -- American Airlines' new service animal policy bans a slew of animals from plane cabins.

Starting July 1, American Airlines says the following pets will not be allowed in plane cabins as emotional support animals:

  • Amphibians
  • Ferrets
  • Goats
  • Hedgehogs
  • Insects
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Sugar gliders
  • Non-household birds
  • Animals with tucks, horns or hooves (excluding miniature horses trained as service animals)
  • Any animal that is unclean or has an odor

American is trying to rein the rise of emotional support animals on planes, particular unconventional ones.

Passengers also have to give American 48 hours' notice and provide proper documentation, including a mental health professional form and behavior guidelines. American Airlines says they may contact a patient's mental health professional to validate the paperwork.

Emotional support animals are different from regular service animals. They do not perform tasks to assist a person with a disability. Instead, they provide comfort to alleviate a symptom or effect of a disability.

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act specifically defines a service animal as a dog or horse trained to perform tasks, emotional support animals can be different kinds of animals.

They are not, however, protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ESAs fall under the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act under a broader definition of service animal.

The U.S. Department of Transportation, however, says airlines are not required to accept unusual service animals in cabins.  

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