Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1180950
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that 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 think to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is a "real" service dog, varieties complain their neighbors have a pet in the "no pet" building simply because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal letter.
Some of the commentary has an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How does this affect those that legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of your disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun asking for proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and even though many those who own 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 business people that make registrations services just 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 once the owner can create a simple document that may often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is often easier to give a document using a simple sentence stating, "This can be 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 across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game what the law states? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can try to take advantage of many systems that individuals 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. Not to mention the number of people that lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small investment when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for those.
In the end, you cannot control any system to 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.