Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs1223042
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that want to scam the machine.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant which they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet inside a "no pet" building simply because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How can this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to higher their lives? In several ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of the disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the system, it can cause these to look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun asking for proof of status, despite the fact that 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 thus have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business people that make registrations services like the Service Animal Registry of California so fundamental to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can create a simple document that will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it's easier to hand over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting one other party browse the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the machine, or game the law? Sadly, the answer 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 set up to protect the rights of those who need such protection. For example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of people that lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However 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 can't control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few individuals who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.