Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs3341082
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by people who 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 they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant that they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors have a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed the animal is emotional support animal letter.
A few of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How can this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In lots of ways.
For one, it can it harder to navigate bureaucracy on the planet when your claim of the disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or business owner has heard negative stories claiming that many people are abusing the machine, it can cause them to look suspiciously at all claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun seeking proof of status, although asking for written or another evidence is not always legal, although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and therefore have no such documentation to create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business people 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 create a simple document that may often fulfill the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is often easier to give over a document having a simple sentence stating, "This is a service animal" and letting another party browse the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse and people can attempt to take advantage of many systems that people 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 benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of people that lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, could well be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher objective of promoting access and equality for all.
In the end, you cannot 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 state of California have equal access under law.