LOS ANGELES (CBS SF/AP) — A United Airlines passenger who tried to take her emotional support peacock with her on a cross-country flight to Los Angeles had the bird turned away by the airline because of health and safety concerns.

New York City-based photographer and performance artist Ventiko says she bought a ticket for her peacock, Dexter, so he would have his own seat on Sunday’s flight from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport to Los Angeles.

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A spokeswoman for Chicago-based United says the peacock didn’t meet guidelines for several reasons, including its size and weight. Spokeswoman Andrea Hiller says the issues had been explained to the passenger three times “before they arrived at the airport.”

Dexter’s Instagram account notes her peacock’s “human friends” will be driving him cross-country.

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.


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