Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs334360
Sadly, many people 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 feel to be abusing the device. You hear some complain they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that the neighbors possess a pet in a "no pet" building since they claimed the pet is emotional support animal letter.
Some of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
How does this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it could it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of the disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, although asking for written or any other evidence is not always legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and companies that make registrations services like the Service Animal Registry of California so important legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can certainly produce a simple document that may often match the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to give a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting one other party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In your life, there is always room for abuse and people can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied to protect the rights of those that need such protection. As an 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 their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, could well 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 making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.