Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs9384777
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those who want to scam the system.
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 that they to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain that their neighbors use a pet inside a "no pet" building simply because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal registration.
A few of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those who legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of a disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or company owner 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 requesting proof of status, even though asking for written or another evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to make.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so fundamental 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 working with public spaces, it's easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting another party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that we as a society applied to protect the rights of those who need such protection. For 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 own 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, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can't control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few individuals who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.