Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Guide Dogs8370539
Sadly, many people 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 and other editorials where people rant and complain about people they feel to be abusing the machine. You hear some complain that they had to sit near your pet dog at a restaurant they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, varieties complain that their neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed your pet is esa letter.
A number of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and a few people are downright angry.
How can this affect those who legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it may it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of the 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 machine, it can cause these to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business owners have begun asking for proof of status, even though asking for written or other evidence is not always 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 create.
It is the suspicious attitude and illegal demands of some landlords and companies that make registrations services just like the Service Animal Registry of California so vital to legitimate owners.
Although registration is optional, it can benefit shortcut the housing rental and business access issues when the owner can produce a simple document that may often satisfy the owner or landlord. Also, when using public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document with a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting the other party read the information, instead of having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, do some people scam the device, or game regulations? Sadly, the reply is "probably yes." In everyday life, there is always room for abuse and people can make an effort to take advantage of many systems that people as a society put in place to protect the rights of those who need such protection. For example, many drivers falsely display disabled parking placards to take advantage of free and convenient parking. Not forgetting the number of folks who lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse shop 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 cannot control any system to make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the few people who scam service animal laws may be the price we gladly pay to ensure that the disabled within the great state of California have equal access under law.