(CBS Local) — Birds of a feather may flock together, but not on United Airlines. A woman who claimed that a peacock was her “emotional support animal” was not allowed to bring the animal on board her flight.
Ventiko, a New York-based performance artist, brought her large feathered friend to Newark Liberty International Airport in hopes of taking the peacock with her on a flight to Los Angeles. According to Live and Let’s Fly, the artist initially argued with United Airlines that her uncaged peacock should be allowed to fly for free because of its alleged “emotional support” status.
Ventiko, who was identified by Newsweek, then volunteered to pay for a seat for the bird but was turned down by United personnel. “This animal did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size,” United said in a statement to Business Insider. The airline added they told the peacock’s owner three times that the bird would not be allowed on a plane before the duo arrived in Newark.
The peacock, whose name is Dexter, reportedly began a cross country trip to the west coast by car after being grounded at the airport. According to an Instagram account Dexter’s owner set up in the peacock’s name, the bird started its trip on Jan. 28 and had already made it to Oklahoma by Jan. 30.
Recently, airlines have begun cracking down on flyers trying to abuse the rules regarding “support animals.” Delta Airlines will start requiring its passengers to show proof that animals traveling in the cabin have been properly vaccinated and trained to behave themselves. The carrier claims the policy change, which starts in March, was made in response to growing complaints of untrained animals biting customers and urinating inside the airplane.
United is also requiring its flyers to provide documents from a medical professional proving their pet is a “support animal” at least 48 hours before a flight.