Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs9149755
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by people who want to scam the machine.
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 machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors possess a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary has an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How does this affect those who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of the disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the system, it can cause these phones look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, and even though many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not 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 companies that make registrations services 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 when the owner can create a simple document that will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting the other party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the device, or game regulations? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that people as a society applied to protect the rights of those who need such protection. As an 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 the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small investment when compared to the higher purpose 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 is the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled within the great state of California have equal access under law.