Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs1258360

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Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are 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 believe to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain that their neighbors have a pet inside a "no pet" building since they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.

A few of the commentary has an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.

How can this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to raised their lives? In lots of ways.

For one, it may it more challenging 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 business 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 business owners have begun asking for proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence isn't necessarily legal, and 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 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 fundamental to legitimate owners.

Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues if the owner can create a simple document which will often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it's easier to give a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting the other party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public places, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.

So, carry out some people scam the machine, or game the law? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place to protect the rights of those that need such protection. As an example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to benefit from free and convenient parking. Not to mention the number of folks who lie on their own 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, is arguably a very small investment when compared to the higher goal of promoting access and equality for those.

In the end, you can't control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few individuals who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled within the great condition of California have equal access under law.