HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Judy Short says she flew into Bradley International Airport with Tequila – a therapy dog – secure on her lap.
“There are people like myself that have anxiety and she travels with me to help me keep my mood a little easier,” Short said.
She flew in on United Airlines to help a friend with cancer, but when she tried to fly back to Oregon Wednesday she was turned away at the counter. They said she didn’t have the correct paperwork.
“That’s her signature,” Short said, pointing to a doctor’s handwriting. “It was written on Aug. 13 and I have flown three times with this on various airlines.”
Reached for comment by News 8, United Airlines spokesperson Charles Hobart said you must fill out the proper paperwork, which can be done online, to fly with a therapy dog. Hobart said that the script that Short had was not the proper paperwork. The airline said they tried to work with the Oregon woman by getting her doctor to fax the proper paperwork but they said she refused.
“They paged me for the flight and I said I’m obviously not going on my flight because I am still here,” Short said. “Then she says we have done everything we can do but you can’t go on the flight.”
United said they did offer to fly Short on another carrier as well as allow Tequila fly in a kennel under her seat. Short declined because she needed to be able to pet and hold Tequila to calm her nerves.
United said the form is on their website and must be turned in with 48 hours notice. While they did stick by their paperwork policy, they did refund Judy for her ticket to Oregon and baggage fees.
“I’m just sad that humans will do this to somebody and that’s just not customer service,” Short said.
The airline said the policy is in place so people don’t claim normal pets as therapy pets and planes become overrun with cats and dogs.