Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs7529448
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by people who want to scam the system.
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 device. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed the pet 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 make use of a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it could it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of the disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or other evidence might not be legal, although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business people that make registrations services just 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 if the owner can create a simple document that may often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to give a document having a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting one other party browse the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In your life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that individuals as a society set up to protect the rights of those that need such protection. For example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not forgetting the number of people that lie on their own tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small investment when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for those.
In the end, you can not control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.