Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs327826
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by people 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 think to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain that the neighbors possess a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
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 several ways.
For one, it could it harder to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of a disability and 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 these phones look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun asking for proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or any other evidence might not be legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't 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 vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can create a simple document that may often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is often easier to give a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting one other party see the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place to protect the rights of people who need such protection. For instance, 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 in service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you cannot 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 in the great condition of California have equal access under law.