Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs4911125
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the device. You hear some complain they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant that they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors possess a pet in a "no pet" building simply because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary has an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
How does this affect those that legitimately own and use a service animal to raised their lives? In several ways.
For one, it may 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 business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, and even though many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to create.
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 vital to 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 will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is often easier to give a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting the other party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the machine, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society put in place to protect the rights of those who need such protection. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of folks who lie on their own tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small price to pay when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can't control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled in the great state of California have equal access under law.