Mini horses are officially cleared for take off

DOT officially approves miniature horses as service animals

Photo by David Jia

SAN ANTONIO – Service animals have been the subject of much debate for various reasons over the past several years, including whether or not certain service animals should be allowed on airplanes.

The Department of Transportation published new guidelines Thursday allowing the most commonly recognized service animals to fly on commercial airlines.

"We believe that it would be in the public interest and within our discretionary authority to prioritize ensuring that the most commonly recognized service animals (i.e., dogs, cats, and miniature horses) are accepted for transport," the policy reads in part.

Airlines will not be subject to punishment for denying access to service animals like snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents and spiders, according to the DOT.

The statement does say that airlines will be potentially subject to "enforcement action" if the airline "categorically refuses to transport other animals or species of animals."

If you're interested in reading the full guidelines for the enforcement policies of service animals on aircraft, click here.

The DOT is giving airline companies approximately 30 days to review and revise company policies in order to comply with the new regulations.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.