Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1705240
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those who want to scam the device.
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 machine. You hear some complain they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, varieties complain that the neighbors have a pet in the "no pet" building simply because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal registration.
A number of the commentary has an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause these phones look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun requesting proof of status, although asking for written or another evidence might not be legal, and although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to make.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services just 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 when the owner can certainly produce a simple document which will often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is usually easier to give a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting the 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, perform some people scam the device, or game the law? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In your life, there is always room for abuse and people can make an effort 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 benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of people that lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in 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 many.
In the end, you cannot control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.