Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs1402182
Sadly, many people are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces along with other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, varieties complain their neighbors possess a pet inside a "no pet" building because they claimed your pet is emotional support animal registration.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How can this affect those who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of the disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the system, it can cause these to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun requesting proof of status, despite the fact that asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and so 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 will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues once the owner can produce a simple document which will often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is usually easier to give a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting another party browse the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the system, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that individuals as a society set up to protect the rights of those that 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 the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store 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 goal of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you cannot control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.