Sadly, some individuals are asking whether "service animal" laws are increasingly being abused by those that want to scam the machine.
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 a dog at a restaurant they don't believe is really a "real" service dog, varieties complain their neighbors have a pet in a "no pet" building because they claimed the animal is esa doctors.
Some of the commentary posseses an indignant tone, plus some people are downright angry.
How does this affect those who legitimately own and use a service animal to better their lives? In several ways.
For one, it can it more difficult to navigate bureaucracy of the world when your claim of a 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 some people are abusing the device, it can cause these to look suspiciously whatsoever claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun requesting proof of status, even though asking for written or any other evidence isn't necessarily legal, although many people who just love legitimate service animals and emotional support animals haven't taken advantage of registering them, and thus have no such documentation to create.
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 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 working with public spaces, it is usually easier to give a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting another party read the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or worse yet, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering across the discussion.
So, do some people scam the system, or game what the law states? 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 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 take advantage of free and convenient parking. As well as the number of folks who lie on their tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in service animal laws is hopefully small, is arguably a very small investment 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 not enough people who scam service animal laws is the price we gladly pay to ensure the disabled in the great condition of California have equal access under law.