Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs6763241
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain their neighbors possess a pet inside a "no pet" building simply because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to higher their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it may it harder to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun asking for proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to produce.
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 create a simple document which will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting the other party see the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer 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 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 who lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small price to pay when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for many.
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 will be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.