Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1276326
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by people who 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 system. 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 the animal is emotional support animal registration.
A number of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How does this affect those that legitimately own and use a service animal to higher their lives? In several ways.
For one, it may it harder to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of your disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the system, it can cause these phones look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun asking for proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to make.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services 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 match the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to give over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting another party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the machine, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can try to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied 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 forgetting the number of folks who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you cannot control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.