Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs8712609
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the device. You hear some complain they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant which they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that the neighbors possess a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
A number of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of the disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or any other evidence is not always legal, and although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services such as the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can benefit shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can certainly produce a simple document which will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it's easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting another party browse the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the device, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place to protect the rights of those that need such protection. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of people who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher goal 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 will be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.