Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs955723
Sadly, some people 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 feel to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant that they don't believe is a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors possess a pet in the "no pet" building because they claimed your pet is how to ask doctor for emotional support animal.
Some of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
How can this affect those that legitimately own and use a service animal to raised their lives? In several ways.
For one, it may it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability as well as your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. If your landlord or business proprietor has heard negative stories claiming that some individuals are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun asking for proof of status, although asking for written or another evidence is not always legal, and although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have 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 owners that make registrations services 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 if the owner can create a simple document which will often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is often easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting one other party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game the law? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and individuals can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that we as a society set up 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 people who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse store return policies, or do other bad acts.
But that percentage of abuse, which around service animal laws is hopefully small, might just be a very small price to pay when compared to the higher purpose of promoting access and equality for many.
In the end, you can't control any system to really make 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.