Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs2019731
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain their neighbors use a pet in a "no pet" building simply because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary comes with 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 could it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of the disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the machine, it can cause these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not 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 business owners that make registrations services such as 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 if the owner can produce a simple document which will often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is usually easier to give a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting one other party see the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society set up to protect the rights of people 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 who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
However 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 purpose of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can't control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled within the great state of California have equal access under law.