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30 Nov, 2014 16:02

‘Emotional support pig’ can’t fly US Airways, kicked off with owner

‘Emotional support pig’ can’t fly US Airways, kicked off with owner

A woman boarded a flight in Connecticut with a 70-pound pig she claimed was for “emotional support.” But after the porky pet got totally out of hand, the odd couple was forced to disembark.

The woman brought the animal onto a US Airways flight on Wednesday, apparently having had no trouble taking it through customs.

A professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jonathan Skolnik, who was also a passenger on the flight, told ABC News of his shock after initially thinking the large animal was a duffel bag.

“But it turns out it wasn't a duffel bag. We could smell it and it was a pig on a leash,” he said. “She tethered it to the arm rest next to me and started to deal with her stuff, but the pig was walking back and forth.”

RT @ianbremmer: When Pigs Don't Fly: Passenger forced to deplane when her emotional support pig caused a disruption. pic.twitter.com/87Rfxcser8

— Lou Ann Di Nallo (@ladinallo) November 30, 2014

“I was terrified, because I was thinking I'm gonna be on the plane with the pig," Snolnik added, saying he guessed the pig weighed between 50 and 70 pounds.

The woman and the animal were forced to disembark - with pictures circulating on social media showing the woman managed to carry the animal off on her left shoulder.

I want an emotional support pig.

— Dr. Hugo Hackenbush (@MangyLover) November 28, 2014

This is not the first time that people have attempted to push boundaries with emotional support animals.

In October, The New Yorker’s Patricia Marx attempted to claim a series of “emotional support animals” in unusual situations, starting small with a turtle, and subsequently claiming an “emotional support turkey,” an “emotional support alpaca,” and then, as in the recent case in Connecticut, a pig.

@O_TheRed beggars belief doesn't it? How on earth did no one see she had a pig with her? Hogging all the space too

— jo sandelson (@josandelson) November 28, 2014

“How is that even allowed?” Marx heard a peeved woman behind her question. Apparently the condition was as long as the pig sat on Marx’s lap.

Emotional support animals are designed to provide a degree of therapeutic benefit to their owners, engendering feelings of security and calm. They can within reason be any animal, and owners must have a verifiable ailment according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which encompasses a wide range of accepted phobias, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

That's not right, making her deplane. What's the wurst that could happen? @MangyLover@ABC

— John Petruna ® (@jgpetruna) November 28, 2014

Psychiatric service dogs have a legal categorization of their own and are specifically trained to cope with the demands of people suffering with psychiatric ailments such as PTSD.