Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs8636403
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, varieties complain that the neighbors use a pet inside a "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal registration.
A few of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those who legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it could it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of your disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the system, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun asking for proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence might not be legal, and although many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and companies that make registrations services like the Service Animal Registry of California so important legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can benefit shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can certainly produce a simple document that may often match the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to give over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting another party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering round 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 try to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place to protect the rights of people who need such protection. For instance, 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 retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for many.
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 is the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled in the great state of California have equal access under law.