The days of having a furry friend greet you at the main terminal of Tampa International Airport are over, unless it’s a service animal.
According to an announcement from the airport, officials will step-up their enforcement of the airport’s pet policy because of record passenger growth, and in turn, more animals in the terminals.
Animals that are not service animals or traveling are not allowed in the airport. For example, the news release pointed out, dogs will not be able to wait with people at the main terminal to greet travelers.
The policy outlines that non-service animals that are traveling must be in a pet carrier or on a leash while in the airport.
Non-service animals are also banned from airport restaurants.
Service animals, on the other hand, are allowed.
“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 a news release.
Airport officials started informing pet owners about what they called a decades-old, yet loosely enforced, policy Thursday, according to the news release. Guests with pets found to be in violation of the policy will start receiving warnings and possible citations by the end of March.
Officials hope the crackdown will decrease injuries to people and animals and enhance sanitation and cleanliness. There were more than a dozen injuries to people and pets in the last two months, according to a news release, in addition to hundreds of facility cleanups over the last two months.
The Humane Society of Tampa Bay supported the policy enforcement.
“The Humane Society of Tampa Bay supports Tampa International Airport’s no-pets policy in the Airport for animals that are not traveling,” Sherry Silk, CEO of HSTB said in a news release. “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.”