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Thanks to Alicia Smith for Her Incredible Advocacy for Americans with Emotional Support or Psychiatric Service Animals

By October 4, 2016November 24th, 2020No Comments


NAMI Montana’s Consumer Representative Alicia Smith (pictured above with the first donation for the Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery) has spent the past six months serving on the Department of Transportation’s Access Advisory Committee. The Access Advisory Committee has helped guide the federal analysis of sweeping rule revisions to help make airlines most accommodating to passengers with limited mobility.

From that position, Aliciia has been a strong advocate for people with emotional support animals and psychiatric service dogs. According to an article in USA Today, Alicia said emotional-support animals could provide medical assistance as crucial as an oxygen bottle or a prosthetic by helping calm an autistic child or a veteran with post-traumatic-stress disorder.“We don’t want a Noah’s ark with untested animals that don’t have any proven ability to behave in a very unusual setting,” said Smith, who uses a large service dog to help maintain her balance. “That’s when you get the person bringing on the kangaroo and the turkey and kind of ridiculous animals.”
After five months of talks, the committee has yet to reach a consensus.
“Clearly there is a big gap between the airlines’ position, which is to get rid of them completely, and our position, which is to maintain them, but have some limits in terms of species and size,” Smith said.

Read the full USA Today article here.

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