TIA Tightens Leash on Pets at Airport

Tampa International Airport recently announced that it would step up its enforcement of restricting non-service animals at the airport with an aim at reducing injuries to pets and people as well as enhancing cleanliness and sanitation at TPA.

TPA is now educating pet owners about its policy, which has been in place for decades but loosely enforced. By the end of March, pet owners will receive warnings and possible trespassing citations for guests who are found non-compliant with the rules. The policy states that traveling non-service animals must be properly confined in a pet carrier if one is present, or controlled on a leash when they are in the airport. Non-service animal pets that are not traveling, such as those greeting arriving passengers in the Main Terminal, are not allowed at TPA.

The increased enforcement comes at a time when TPA is experiencing record passenger growth, and as a result, record numbers of animals in the terminals. Over the past two years, TPA paramedics, police and maintenance staff have responded to more than a dozen injuries to people and pets, as well as hundreds of facility cleanups due to animals.

“Service animals are always welcome at TPA and we honor the policies of airlines that allow non-service animals to fly with their owners,” TPA Director of Operations Adam Bouchard said. “In order to maintain our safety and cleanliness standards, we will no longer allow non-service animals that are not traveling in our Airport, and those that are traveling will need to be in their carrier or controlled on a leash.”

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board of Directors on Thursday morning approved the updated specifications in TPA’s animal rules and regulations, which also state that non-service animals are not allowed in any restaurant at TPA in accordance with FDA regulations.

The policy enforcement was endorsed by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay as a relief to both service dogs and their owners, as well as a necessary measure to reduce animal incidents such as paw injuries on escalators.

“The Humane Society of Tampa Bay supports Tampa International Airport’s no-pets policy in the Airport for animals that are not traveling,” said Sherry Silk, CEO of HSTB. “We have seen animals get injured and know that airports are not a safe and comfortable place for dogs and other pets that are not trained to navigate such a busy facility. We strongly encourage pet owners to leave pets at home or find alternative care when visiting TPA.”

To learn more about TPA’s policy as well as the policies of our most popular airlines, visit www.tampaairport.com/animals.

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