Jan 05

If you read part one, you know owners must accept emotional support animals, or comfort animals as many owners call them if the pet owner has a prescription.  Airlines must also accommodate these animals and let them ride in the cabin uncaged.

But what about the rights of other tenants and plane passengers who are allergic to fury critters?  Once you allow cats and dogs into units you probably need to disclose to prospective tenants that fact as many may be allergic to pet fur and dander.

My wife developed sudden and severe allergies a year and a half ago.  Put her next to a cat or dog and she gets allergic asthma sometimes called occupational asthma.  This is so severe that she carries an Epipen and rescue inhaler everywhere she goes.

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This past week when we were flying back from spending the holidays with our children and grandkids,  lo and behold a dog wearing a cute little vest that suggested it was a working animal gets seated behind us. Clearly this was not a Service Animal.

Sitting near the dog caused my wife to have a severe asthma attack.

For a while it looked like our flight was going to land someplace like Cleveland with all 162 passengers and one dog aboard so that Carmen could get emergency medical attention due to this dog induced asthma attack.  The airline, which I’m not naming as it was not their fault,  was great and moved us to the back of the plane, away from the pooch. But it was still a terrible flight as I spent the entire time worried that Carmen would need immediate and unavailable medical attention. She used the rescue inhaler twice, took Benadryl and was still wheezing the entire flight.

So whose rights are paramount in such cases, the person with the need for emotional support animals or the persons who are severely allergic to fur and dander?

I would argue the latter, not only because of my wife’s condition, but also because the fur and dander remain long after the pet has left the area.  I also believe there are more people that have allergies to pets than those who medically need their pets.

We did learn one thing.  If you are allergic to animals or peanuts for that matter,  you should list that in the box marked special needs or special accommodations.  The airline then will not allow animals in the cabin, but give the animal owner the option of flying on a different flight or putting the animal in the cargo hold.

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