Air Carriers Required To Increase Reports of Animal Incidents

By Phil Guidry, Senior Policy Analyst, AKC Government Relations

In July, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) issued the final version of a rule that amends the requirements for air carriers to report incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of an animal during air transport. In 2010, DOT received a petition from the Animal Legal Defense Fund to address purported confusion regarding which entities were required to submit reports on incidents involving loss, injury, or death of an animal during air transportation.  Clarification on which flights are covered was also requested.  In June 2012, DOT published and requested public comment on a draft of proposed rules. It received over 5,000 comments in response, including comments from two airlines, two airline associations, six scientific research organizations, and six animal “rights” groups.

The final rule, which becomes effective on January 1, 2015:


  • Extends reporting requirements to U.S. carriers that operate scheduled service with at least one aircraft with a design capacity of more than 60 seats. These “covered carriers” are required to submit a report to the DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD) on any incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of an animal during air transportation within 15 days after the end of the month during which the incident occurred.

  • Expands the definition of “animal” to include any warm- or cold-blooded animal, which at the time of transportation, is being kept as a pet in a family household; and any dog or cat which, at the time of transportation, is shipped as part of a commercial shipment on a scheduled passenger flight, including shipments by trainers and breeders.

  • Requires covered carriers to file a calendar-year report in December of each year, even if the carrier did not have any reportable incidents during the calendar year.

  • Calls for covered carriers to provide an annual account of the total number of animals that were transported in the calendar year, and the total number that were lost, injured, or died during air transport in the calendar year.


“These new rules will help provide consumers and others with a more complete picture of the treatment animals receive on scheduled passenger flights,” said Sheila Goffe, Director of AKC’s Government Relations Department.  “We will continue to monitor developments in the air transport industry to ensure that best methods are used so each commercially-shipped animal’s wellbeing is of utmost importance of airlines.” AKC’s Government Relations Department (AKC-GR) continuously monitors important regulatory developments that may impact the purebred dog community, both at the state and federal levels of government. 


For more information, contact AKC-GR at (919) 816-3720, or email