THIS COULD HAPPEN. Let’s say you are one of 50 passengers crammed into Delta Flight 5332 from Central Wisconsin Airport to Detroit Metro Airport and 20 of your fellow passengers are traveling with either an emotional support animal or a service animal.

Sounds like a scene from the 1960s Beverly Hillbillies TV series and the Clampetts are moving to California with Elly May’s critters, doesn’t it?

The airlines are struggling to comply with enhanced requirements put into place by the Americans with Disabilities Act which protects the rights of passengers with disabilities. But what about the rights of the average passenger?

To comply with the act, the airlines must allow fully-trained service and support animals to fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements. Animals must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap, must be smaller than a 2-year-old child.

Emotional support animals are usually dogs or cats. They must be in a carrier or on a leash at all times. Service animals also are usually dogs or cats, but may include miniature horses, said Southwest Airlines. But that might require very special circumstances, said officials.

You will be glad to know service animals may not protrude into or block aisles, occupy a seat (unless the seat is paid for) and may not eat from the tray table. If these rules aren’t followed, the animal may need to be checked as a pet.

Imagine being a typical middle-seat passenger on a three-hour flight and being flanked by passengers holding 30-pound dogs. Or boarding a plane and being told by the flight crew that the cleaning staff has been called in to clean up a mess left on/under your cramped seat by the previous passenger’s service animal.

You will be relieved to know that the animal must be trained to behave properly in public, must not display any form of disruptive behavior that can’t be successfully corrected or controlled, that means they cannot growl, bite or lunge at people.

The rules state that some animals can’t be permitted on planes due to safety or for public health risk. That means passengers can’t claim ferrets, goats, reptiles, rodents, snakes, chickens or other types of birds as service animals.

Service animals must be clean and not have an offensive odor. The rules said the animal must be trained to not relieve itself if on a flight up to eight hours, unless it can be done in a way that doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.

The law makes it clear that emotional support animals provide emotional, psychiatric or cognitive support for individuals with disabilities. For more information, search service and emotional support animals on airlines. Flying can be a hoot.



*  *  *

YOU’VE HEARD a lot recently about illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. It has been a hot topic for many years and will be again as the November midterm election nears.

But what are the latest numbers? According to a recent report by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the border patrol arrested 31,300 illegals in July.

The report said about 9,258 immigrants traveled as families. Most were expected to ask for asylum, as instructed by legal aides. There were about 4,000 unaccompanied children arrested at the border in July, down from 5,000 in June.

At the same time, border agents said 3,027 immigrants presented themselves at legal border crossing stations. There were 40,000 families and 7,000 unaccompanied children asking for refuge at legal facilities since October 2017.

Since the start of the budget year in October, more than 80,000 illegal immigrants were arrested traveling as families and more than 41,000 were arrested as unaccompanied immigrant children.

Can you imagine how hard it must be working for the border patrol and U.S. Customs?



*  *  *

HERE ARE SOME more fun facts.

The federal budget deficit rose in July. Was that because of the recent tax cuts or from increased spending? Let’s look at what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in its budget summary for July.

The deficit for the first 10 months of fiscal 2018 reached $682 billion, up $116 billion from the year earlier. The CBO report said federal spending for the same period increased $143 billion and cited additional costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as the main culprits.

The CBO said revenues were higher by $26 billion. Corporate income taxes were down due to the rate cuts. Individual income taxes increased by $104 billion or 7.9% despite the cuts in individual rates.

They said a faster-growing economy employed more people which increased withholding from paychecks by $32 billion, which largely reflects increases in wages and salaries. The bottom line: higher spending is causing higher deficits.