Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1379259
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they to sit near your dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal registration.
A number of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some 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 challenging to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability as well as 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 these to look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or any other evidence might not be legal, although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't 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 help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues once the owner can create a simple document which will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is usually easier to give a document using a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting the other party see the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the system, or game the law? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In 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 who 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 people that lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But 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 those.
In the end, you cannot control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled in the great state of California have equal access under law.