Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs4958296
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the system. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal registration.
Some of the commentary has an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How can this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to raised their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun requesting proof of status, although asking for written or any other evidence might not be legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business people that make registrations services like the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues once the owner can certainly produce a simple document that will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is often easier to give over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting one other party browse the information, as opposed to having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that people as a society set up to protect the rights of those that 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 store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably 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 may be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled in the great condition of California have equal access under law.