Sarasota-Bradenton airport updates animals policy: Service animals OK, pets restricted

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The Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority announced its new guidelines for non-trained service animals in the terminal facility.

As much as you might like the idea of bringing your dog into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport to see your visitors or family members off, that won’t be allowed under the airport’s new regulations.

On Tuesday, the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority that operates the local regional airport announced its new guidelines for non-trained service animals in the terminal facility.

“Over the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in pets, emotional support animal and comfort animals using our facility. This has resulted in frequent sanitation issues and some threatening behavior problems,” Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of the airport, said in a statement. “To maintain a clean and safe environment for our customers, we will begin educating the public on our updated regulations and increasing enforcement.”

Under the updated regulations, non-service animals are barred from the terminal building unless they’re traveling with their owner. Once they’re inside the terminal, non-service animals must either be kept in an animal carrier or be physically carried if the first option isn’t available. Animals too big to fit in a carrier have to be kept on a non-retractable leash that extends no longer than three feet from the owner.

All pets have to be housebroken, and animals must be under control of the owner, according to regulations. If the behavior of the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the owner will be required to remove the animal. If a pet makes a mess, the owner is responsible for cleaning it up and reporting it.

The regulations do not affect trained service animals, which are welcome in the airport at any time.

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