Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs5255614
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those who want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal registration.
Some of the commentary has an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of a disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun seeking proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services such as 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 certainly produce a simple document which will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to give over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting the 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 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 attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society put in place to protect the rights of those who need such protection. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of folks who lie on their own tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small price to pay when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for those.
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 is the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.