Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs5604639
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the device. You hear some complain they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, varieties complain that their neighbors use a pet in a "no pet" building since they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
A number of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of your disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, and although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services such as the Service Animal Registry of California so important legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can produce a simple document that may often match the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to give over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting another party read the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the machine, or game regulations? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can attempt to take advantage of many systems that individuals as a society put in place to protect the rights of those that need such protection. For example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not forgetting the number of people who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail 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 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 that the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.