Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs4366691
Sadly, some individuals 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 and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the system. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that their neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building since they claimed the animal is emotional support animal registration.
A few of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How can this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it may it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of a disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the machine, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or any other evidence is not always legal, and 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 people that make registrations services such as the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can benefit shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can create a simple document that may often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is often easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting another party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In your life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied 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. Not to mention the number of folks who lie on their own tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher goal 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 will be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.