Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs8124748
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by people who want to scam the machine.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and 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 dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet in a "no pet" building since they claimed your pet is how to ask doctor for emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to higher their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of a 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 individuals are abusing the machine, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business owners that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so important legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can certainly produce a simple document which will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting one other party see the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game regulations? Sadly, the reply 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. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of people that lie on their own tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail 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 objective of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can't 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 that the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.