Most controversial emotional support animal stories of 2018

Emotional support animals became headline news with the death of Kokito, a French bulldog who died in an overhead bin on a United flight in May. Since the infamous incident, several airlines began rethinking their animal travel policies — though some passengers seemed to not get the memo.

Dog poops on plane
A male customer was left “covered” in dog feces after he sat in poop left behind “everywhere” by a service animal on a flight in November.

“Actual feces and it was all over me. I sat in it and it was on the seat, on the floor, the seat in front. And I was literally in it,” Matthew Meehan told WXYZ.

Reps for Delta confirmed to Fox News that the accident happened during a “previous flight with an ill service animal.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, Meehan claimed that when he requested assistance from the cabin crew to clean up, they gave him two paper towels and a small bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin — which didn’t prove to be much of a help.

Passenger tries to smuggle “emotional support” cat on plane
One British Airways customer caused quite a commotion when she failed to smuggle her so-called “emotional support” cat onto a flight in the U.K. last October.

The Daily Record reported that an American passenger got the boot from her Oct. 24 flight from Glasgow to London before the aircraft even took off, as she attempted to conceal her feline companion in her hand luggage.

Once British Airways cabin crew discovered the furry feline, the woman was kicked off the plane, the Record reported.

Woman denied peacock as emotional support animal
United Airlines shot down one traveler’s request to bring her emotional support peacock on a flight departing Newark Liberty International Airport in January.

Live and Let Fly reported that even though the unidentified woman claimed that she had a second ticket for the peacock, the airline denied her request.

A spokesperson for United told Fox News that the traveler(s) with the peacock were told they would not be able to bring it on board.

“This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size. We explained this to the customers on three separate occasions before they arrived at the airport,” said United in a statement.

Consumer groups allege Google misleads children in FTC complaint

A group of consumer advocacy, privacy and public health groups urged U.S. regulators to probe whether children are being endangered by deceptive apps in Google’s Play app store for smartphones using the Android operating system.

The complaint filed Wednesday alleges Google’s Play store is harming kids by allowing apps that break privacy laws, contain adult content or include manipulative advertising.

The call for Federal Trade Commission (FTC) action is being led by two groups, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, both of which have previously attacked Google’s approach to kids. Twenty other groups also joined in the latest complaint.

Google issued a statement emphasizing its commitment to protecting children while they are online — one of the reasons the company says it prohibits targeted advertising at children under 13.

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“We take these issues very seriously and continue to work hard to remove any content that is inappropriately aimed at children from our platform,” Google said.

More than 2 billion devices worldwide are powered by Google software, with a significant number of those being used by minors. The complaint focuses on alleged misconduct under U.S. laws and regulations.

The attempt to pressure the FTC to open an investigation comes amid an intensifying backlash against Google, Facebook and other companies that make most of their money by using their free services to track people’s interests and whereabouts and then mining that information to sell ads targeted at them.

Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island who has been critical of Google, issued a statement supporting the groups seeking an FTC investigation, as did Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico.

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“It is past time for the Federal Trade Commission to crack down to protect children’s privacy,” Udall said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.

Although the FTC doesn’t typically comment on whether it will investigate issues raised in complaints, it has punished Google for what it deemed to be child exploitation in the past.

In 2014, it reached a settlement requiring Google to refund $19 million for allowing apps distributed through its store to charge children for purchases made without parents’ consent.