Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs6107222
Sadly, some people are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those who want to scam the device.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain that the neighbors possess a pet in the "no pet" building since they claimed the animal is emotional support animal letter.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect people who legitimately own and make use of a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet 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 many people are abusing the system, it can cause them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and companies have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and even though many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't 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 companies that make registrations services 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 once the owner can certainly produce a simple document that may often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it's easier to give over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting one other party see the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the device, or game regulations? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can attempt to take advantage of many systems that we as a society set up to protect the rights of those who need such protection. For 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 tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which in the area of service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably 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 making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.