Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1937362
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those that want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the system. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant which they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain that their neighbors have a pet inside a "no pet" building since they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary has an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it could it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of the disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the system, it can cause these phones look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun requesting proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and even though many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and therefore 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 vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can create a simple document which will often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting the other party browse the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the device, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that individuals as a society put in place to protect the rights of people who need such protection. For instance, 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 shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you can not 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 make sure that the disabled within the great state of California have equal access under law.