While plenty of people are familiar with things such as seeing-eye dogs, which help people with impaired vision go about their daily lives, the idea of an emotional support animal is a little bit less well-known.
While they tend to be dogs, emotional support animals cover a wide range of creatures, and are typically assigned to people suffering from some kind of disability or mental illness. They typically accompany their owner around in order to help them maintain a level of physical or mental stability, and exceptions are often made for them in places where animals are typically not allowed.
Such places often include airports and airplanes, which can often be stressful for all of us at the best of times. While airlines typically have very strict restrictions on what kinds of pets can be brought into the plane's cabin, service animals have historically been an exception due to their owner's need of them.
However, several major airlines seem to be cracking down on this, due to what they consider to be abuses of the system. Delta Airlines recently announced a controversial new set of restrictions on what kinds of service animals are allowed on planes, supposedly to curb potential behaviors such as aggression and urinating.
In this case though, it's United Airlines who are telling a woman that her service animal doesn't meet the requirements to fly with her. The reason? It just so happens her service animal is a rather large flightless bird...
The woman, who has not been identified, approached the United check-in counter with her bags and peacock in tow. Live and Let Fly reported earlier this week that even though she claimed that she had a second ticket for the peacock, the airline denied her request.
"This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size. We explained this to the customers on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport," said United in a statement to Fox News.
Photos of the incident were released online via Facebook page The Jet Set, and the resulting outcry from people has been decidedly mixed: some people see no issue, while others believe this is an abuse of the system.