Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs6614220
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and 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 dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain that their neighbors have a pet inside a "no pet" building simply because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How can this affect people who legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of your disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause these phones look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun seeking proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, although many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't 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 companies that make registrations services such as the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can certainly produce a simple document that may often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to give over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting another party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that we as a society set up to protect the rights of those that need such protection. For instance, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. As well as the number of folks who lie on the 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, is arguably a very small price to pay when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can't control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled in the great state of California have equal access under law.