Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs4066834
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those that want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the system. You hear some complain they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, varieties complain their neighbors have 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, plus some people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and make use of a service animal to higher their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it may it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of your disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun asking for proof of status, even though asking for written or any other evidence isn't necessarily legal, and even though many owners of 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 companies that make registrations services such as the Service Animal Registry of California so important legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can produce a simple document that may often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting one other party see the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the device, or game the law? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can try to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied 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. As well as the number of people that lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small investment when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can not control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled within the great state of California have equal access under law.