Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs5197674
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant which they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain that the neighbors use a pet inside a "no pet" building because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
How can this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun requesting proof of status, even though asking for written or any other evidence might not be 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 create.
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 vital 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 is often easier to give a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting another party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the device, or game what the law states? 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 we as a society applied to protect the rights of those who need such protection. For instance, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. As well as the number of people who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small investment when compared to the higher objective 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 individuals 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.