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Delta passenger uses turkey as 'emotional support animal'

By Daniel Uria   |   Jan. 14, 2016 at 5:22 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A turkey drew the attention of the Internet after photos showed the bird being used as an emotional support animal for an airline passenger.

The photo of the turkey originated from a Reddit post that showed the fowl seated on a Delta airlines flight.

"My neighbor is a flight attendant. He just posted this photo of someone's 'therapy pet' on his flight," Reddit user biggestlittlepickle wrote.

Soon after, another user by the name of unclelimpy commented in the thread and posted a photo of what appeared to be the same turkey being carted around the airport in a wheelchair.

A Delta spokesman clarified the circumstances surrounding these photos in a statement to USA Today, explaining that the airline allowed the turkey on the flight in compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act.

"While we can't always accommodate all pets, Delta employees made a judgment call based in part on the extensive documentation from the customer," spokesman Ashton Morrow said. "We review each case and make every effort to accommodate our customers' travel needs while also taking into consideration the health and safety of other passengers."

According to the National Service Animal Registry's website, all domesticated animals, regardless of species, may qualify as an Emotional Support Animal.

"These animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence mitigates the symptoms associated with a person's psychological/emotional disability, unlike a working service dog," the website states. "The only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the home setting."

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