The U.S. Department of Transportation on has proposed that only specially trained dogs qualify as service animals, which must be allowed in the cabin at no charge. Airlines could ban untrained “emotional support” dogs and animals which have included cats, pigs, pheasants, rabbits and snakes.
Airlines lobbied the Department to crack down on what they consider a scam: passengers who call their pets emotional support animals to avoid fees that generally run more than $100 each way. American Airlines say they carried 155,790 emotional support animals in 2017 — up 48% from 2016 — while the number of checked pets dropped 17%.
“This is a wonderful step in the right direction for people like myself who are dependent on and reliant on legitimate service animals,” says Albert Rizzi, founder of My Blind Spot, an advocacy group for people with disabilities. Veterans groups also side with the airlines, arguing that a boom in untrained dogs and other animals threatens the ability to fly with properly trained service dogs. Some passengers have been bitten by support animals, and airlines complain that they relieve themselves on planes and in airports.
The public has 60 days (until April 22 2020) to submit commentary on the proposed changes.
New Jersey will provide $7.8 million to county jails to support opioid addiction treatment for inmates.
The funding announced will also create community partnerships needed to ensure that treatment continues once an inmate is released from jail, officials said, noting that people leaving jails are particularly vulnerable to opioid overdoses.
This initiative builds on a state prison program conducted by the state’s Human Services and Corrections departments, which provide peer services that expand pre- and post-release recovery support services for inmates.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, confidential, 24-hour National Helpline that offers referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for more information.