Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs6497739
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the system. You hear some complain they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, varieties complain that the neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it could it more difficult 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 these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun requesting proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so fundamental to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can certainly produce a simple document that will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is often easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting another party see the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game the law? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that people as a society set up to protect the rights of people who need such protection. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. Not forgetting the number of people that lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for those.
In the end, you cannot control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few individuals who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.