Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs9143221
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by people who 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 believe to be abusing the system. You hear some complain they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant which they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain that their neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal letter.
Some of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How can this affect people who legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it could it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the device, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun asking for proof of status, although asking for written or another evidence is not always legal, although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't 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 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 once the owner can produce a simple document that will often match 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 the other party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, 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 the ones can try 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 take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not forgetting 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 in service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small investment when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can't control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.