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 as well as other editorials where people rant and complain about people they think to be abusing the device. You hear some complain that they to sit near your dog at a restaurant they don't believe can be a "real" service dog, or others complain their neighbors use a pet inside a "no pet" building because they claimed the pet is emotional support animal registration.
A few of the commentary comes with an indignant tone, and some people are downright angry.
So how exactly does this affect those that legitimately own and employ a service animal to better their lives? In many ways.
For one, it may it more challenging to navigate bureaucracy around the globe when your claim of your disability along with your service or emotional support animal's status is questioned. In case a landlord or company owner has heard negative stories claiming that some people are abusing the system, it can cause them to look suspiciously in any way claimants.
Some landlord and business people have begun asking for proof of status, although asking for written or other evidence is not always legal, and even though many owners of legitimate service animals and emotional support animals never have 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 business people 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 once the owner can certainly produce a simple document that will often match the owner or landlord. Also, when utilizing public spaces, it is usually easier to hand over a document using a simple sentence stating, "This is really a service animal" and letting the other party see the information, rather than having a long-winded protracted conversation (or even worse, argument) in public areas, with onlookers listening in and gathering around the discussion.
So, perform some people scam the device, or game what the law states? Sadly, the answer then is "probably yes." In your life, there is always room for abuse and people can try to take advantage of many systems that individuals 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. As well as the number of folks who lie on the tax returns, claim improper tax deductions, abuse retail store return policies, or do other bad acts.
However that percentage of abuse, which in the area of 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 cannot control any system to really make it 100% abuse proof. So tolerating the not enough people who scam service animal laws will be the price we gladly pay to make sure that the disabled inside the great condition of California have equal access under law.