Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs6256483
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by people who want to scam the machine.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as 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, or others complain that their neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building simply because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal letter.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and employ a service animal to higher their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a 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 some individuals are abusing the device, it can cause these phones look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or another evidence isn't necessarily legal, and even though many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and companies that make registrations services like 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 create a simple document that will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it's easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting the other party see the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied to protect the rights of those that need such protection. For example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. As well as the number of people who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you cannot control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.