Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1970141
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain that the neighbors have a pet in the "no pet" building since they claimed the animal is emotional support animal registration.
A few of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it could 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 a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the system, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or 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 thus have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and companies that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so fundamental 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 fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to give a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting one other party browse the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the system, or game regulations? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In your life, there is always room for abuse the ones can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society set up 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 folks 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, might just be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can't control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few individuals who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled within the great state of California have equal access under law.