Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs5999873
Sadly, some 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 think to be abusing the system. You hear some complain they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that their neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building since they claimed the pet is emotional support animal letter.
Some of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the machine, it can cause these phones look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun asking for proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, and even though many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to make.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business people that make registrations services like 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 when the owner can certainly produce a simple document which will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when working with 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 browse the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.
So, do some people scam the machine, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place 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. As well as the number of people that lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, might just 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 really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few individuals who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.