The US government is cracking down on animals being brought on board as "emotional support" animals.

Airlines could soon bring in hefty fees for passengers trying to bring creatures other than dogs into the cabin.

In recent years, animals such as horses, snakes and even kangaroos have all been brought on board for emotional support.

Unlike official service animals such as guide dogs, emotional support animals are often not formally trained.

Instead, they are often used for nervous travellers or those who suffer from anxiety or depression.

However, United Airlines previously said they had seen a 75 per cent increase in emotional support animal requests in 2017, while thousands of complaints against animals on board have been reported every year.

The government wants to bring in new legislation which will only allow service dogs into the cabin for free.

Other animals will face a fee as they won't be classed as service animals under the new rules.

The document states: "The proposed amendments are intended to ensure that our air transportation system is safe for the travelling public and accessible to individuals with disabilities."

It added that they wish to define a service animal as "a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability" and to deem emotional support animals as "pets".

Dogs which help with anxiety and depression could be labelled service dogs instead of emotional support animals, as long as they have official training and documents.

The changes hope to prevent passengers bringing animals on board who falsely claim that they help them emotionally, when they are instead trying to avoid paying for transport service fees.

They also hope to make the cabin safer by stopping untrained animals potentially injuring crew and other passengers.

Last year, Delta Airlines banned all emotional support animals on flights over eight hours while United Airlines has banned "non-household birds, hedgehogs, insects, snakes, spiders, rodents and reptiles".

UK airlines are much stricter – Virgin Atlantic only allows emotional support dogs while British Airways bans all animals that provide emotional support.`

According to the document, disability advocates are in favour of the stricter rules due to concerns of "the increased stigma and negative perception of all service animals travelling on aircraft".

Crew are also happy with the potential change – Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants told The Guardian: "The days of Noah’s Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end."

A young woman was stopped from bringing a peacock on board after she claimed it was for emotional support.

Two passengers were kicked off a flight after it was diverted because their two "emotional support dogs" began barking at other passengers.

One woman claims she was forced to flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet after crew refused to let her board.

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