New Federal Law in Place for Airlines When Flying Animals

January 22, 2015 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Thanks to a petition headed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the U.S. Department of Transportation has implemented changes to federal law when it comes to shipping animals by airplane. These changes went into effect on January 1, 2015.


Previously, the law required airlines to file reports for any pets that were lost, injured, or died while in their care. However, this did not apply to animals shipped by breeders or research animals. The ALDF filed a petition with the DOT in 2010 after seven puppies, shipped by a breeder, died on an American Airlines flight from Tulsa to Chicago. The airline was not required to report the deaths to federal authorities – sparking outrage from animal lovers and activist groups.


Under the new rules, the airlines must file monthly reports and include each lost, injured, or deceased animal, including those shipped by breeders and dogs and cats being used for research. An annual report tracking the number of animals they fly each year will also be required. In addition, that law will apply to any airline with aircraft that carries more than 60 passengers. This nearly doubles the number of airlines required to file reports.


These reporting requirements will help pet owners and shippers decide which airline to choose. Unfortunately, zoo animals and research animals other than dogs and cats are not covered under the new law. However, this is a great step toward improving both the flying experience and safety of your pet.

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