Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is Cross-Examination The Answer?

Sign with blue background and white print, reading Accessible and Service Animals Permitted, with wheelchair symbol
Tulsa’s Channel 8, ABC - February 27, 2015

Im ambivalent about this kind of news story. It is true that people who knowingly pass off pets as service animals make things worse for disabled people who rely on service animals. People are already primed to suspect anyone who isnt obviously blind who has a service animal of trying to put one over on them. People who might think its harmless to fudge the issue should be reminded of the harm they do.

On the other hand, how common is this really? Since were not cross-examining everyone who claims their pet is a service animal, and many legitimate disabilities are invisible, how do we actually know there’s widespread cheating?

Plus, if we require tighter regulation and credentials for service animals, and empower basically everyone to demand at will to see a dogs certificate or whatever, will that make things better for disabled people or harder?