Last year, Portland International Airport and several other airports followed the lead of airlines in tightening the leash on what consitutes an ’emotional support’ animal and the expected and acceptable behavior of pets in the terminals.
The move came in response to increase incidents of aggressive pets and, in some cases, of pets biting and attacking passengers and employees in airports.
Now Tampa International Airport (TPA), which last May was in the news when a dog traveling as an emotional support animal gave birth to puppies in the terminal, has joined the herd in stepping up its enforcement of restricting non-service animals at the airport.
The aim of TPA’s new policy is reducing injuries to pets and people as well as enhancing cleanliness and sanitation at the airport.
Starting this week, TPA will begin educating pet owners about the airport policy which, it notes, has been in place for decades but loosely enforced.
The policy states that traveling non-service animals (i.e. pets) must be properly confined in a pet carrier or controlled on a leash when they are in the airport.
In addition, pets that are not traveling, such as those greeting arriving passengers in the Main Terminal, are not allowed at TPA.
At the end of March, pet owners who are not following the rules will receive warnings and there could be citations for non-compliant guests.
LIke other airport, TPA is experiencing record passenger growth and a record numbers of animals in the terminals. And TPA paramedics, police and maintenance staff are responding to an increased number of injuries to people and pets and cleaning up hundreds of pet ‘accidents.’
TPA’s policy enforcement was endorsed by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which says the policy is a necessary measure to reduce animal incidents such as paw injuries on escalators.
What do you think of this trend? Do you bring your pet to the airport? Have you seen witnessed pets misbehaving at airports?