Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs9136446
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that 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 believe to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near your dog at a restaurant they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain that the neighbors possess a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those that legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the system, it can cause these to look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun requesting proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or any other evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many people who just love 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 business owners that make registrations services just like 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 once the owner can create a simple document that will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to give over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting another party browse the information, instead of 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 device, or game regulations? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that people 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 benefit from free and convenient parking. As well as the number of people that lie on their 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 purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can not control any system to 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 state of California have equal access under law.