Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs645950
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are being abused by those who want to scam the machine.
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 device. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that their neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building simply because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal registration.
A few of the commentary has an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How does this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it harder to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of a disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun asking for proof of status, even though asking for written or another evidence is not always legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not 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 people that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can benefit shortcut the housing rental and business access issues once the owner can certainly produce a simple document that may often match the owner or landlord. Also, when working with public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting the other party see the information, rather than 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 device, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that we as a society set up to protect the rights of those who 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 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, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can't control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.