CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chances are you've heard the stories of people trying to get all types of emotional support animals on planes, among the most famous stories are the emotional support squirrel or the emotional support peacock.
Flying with emotional support animals are very real for the people who need them, but there are some who abuse airline policy. Stories like that really bug Mariah Houser.
“Emotional support animals have a very real reason and purpose and do help those people, but when people take advantage of that, it falls back on us that need the service dog or need the emotional support animal,” said Houser, who is traveling to Denmark.
We caught up with her as she was getting ready to head to Denmark and she's was taking her service dog, whiskey, with her.
"Whiskey is a service dog for my neurological disorders," Mariah Houser said. "So he's an alert and response dog for that."
There's a difference between what whiskey is and what Daisy is. Service animals are specifically trained to address the disability of their handler and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, they can only be a dog or a miniature horse. For emotional support animals experts say their very presence can soothe someone's mental health but they are not protected under the ADA. These days, there are estimates of over 200-thousand service or support animals out there, a dramatic increase from a few years ago but that has led to some issues.
"We've seen people abuse this issue time and time again, people bringing their animals into places just because they like their animal," state rep. Anthony Sabatini of Florida said.
You might think this is something you wouldn't see at Charlotte-Douglas international airport, but you'd be wrong. We were told of reports people of bringing emotional support monkeys and snakes. The snake, by the way, never got on board as airlines do reserve the right to deny certain types of animals.