Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs5707211
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by people who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed your pet is how to ask doctor for emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary has an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those who legitimately own and employ a service animal to higher their lives? In several ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of the disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun requesting proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence might not be legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services like the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can produce a simple document which will often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is often easier to give over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting another party read the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the machine, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied to protect the rights of those that need such protection. For instance, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of people that lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small price to pay when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can not control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled in the great condition of California have equal access under law.