Service Animals, Emotional Support, and Guide Dogs769688
Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are now being abused by those that want to scam the system.
There have been news stories, articles, opinion pieces as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they believe to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant that they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, forms of languages complain their neighbors use a pet in the "no pet" building simply because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal.
A few of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How does this affect people who legitimately own and use a service animal to higher their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of a 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 them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun seeking proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and although many those who own legitimate service animals and emotional support animals have not taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to produce.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and business people that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can help shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can create a simple document that may often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This can be a service animal" and letting the other party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public, with onlookers listening in and gathering round the discussion.
So, carry out some people scam the machine, or game regulations? Sadly, the answer is "probably yes." In life, there is always room for abuse the ones can try 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 forgetting 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 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 cannot control any system making it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled inside the great state of California have equal access under law.