Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs6261080
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those that want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the system. You hear some complain they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain that the neighbors possess a pet in a "no pet" building since 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 can this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it may it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of your disability and your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the device, it can cause these phones look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence might not be legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have 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 such as the Service Animal Registry of California so important legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can benefit shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can certainly produce a simple document that will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is often easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting one other party read the information, instead of 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 machine, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society put in place to protect the rights of those that 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 tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for those.
In the end, you can't control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.