Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs5906916
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 and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors have a pet in the "no pet" building simply because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal registration.
A number of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it may it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of the disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the machine, it can cause these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun requesting proof of status, although asking for written or any other evidence is not always legal, and although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and so have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and companies that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so fundamental to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it will also help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can certainly produce a simple document that may 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 really a service animal" and letting one other party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the system, or game the law? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can make an effort 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 benefit from free and convenient parking. Not forgetting the number of folks who lie on the 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, could well be a very small investment when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can not 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 make sure that the disabled in the great condition of California have equal access under law.