Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs9804739
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near a dog at a restaurant which they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors possess a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal.
A number of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to higher their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the machine, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun asking for proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or any other evidence is not always legal, although many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services like the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues once the owner can produce a simple document which will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to hand over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting one other 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 device, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that people as a society set up to protect the rights of those who 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 their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for those.
In the end, you can not control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.