Service dogs make it possible for people with disabilities to complete the daily tasks of living. In California, it is required for service animals to have an Assistance Dog Tag. Acquiring a tag is a simple process, and doing so ensures that the service animal will be able to accompany their human companion wherever they go.
Preparing to Get a California Assistance Dog Tag
A person applying for an assistance dog tag may be asked to prove that they are disabled. Officials are not allowed to ask the applicant to specifically identify their disability. However, the applicant should be able to truthfully attest that they are disabled and require a service animal. Sometimes the best way to do this is with a letter from a physician that simply states that the bearer is disabled and requires a service animal.
The applicant must have the dog's immunization records. Of particular interest to state officials is the documentation that shows that the dog's rabies vaccine is up to date. Service animals do not need to be certified to receive an Assistance Dog Tag, nor do they necessarily have to have completed assistance training.
Filling Out the Application
Bring the necessary documentation to the local animal control offices. Workers there may inspect paperwork, and are permitted to inquire as to what types of tasks the service animal performs. However, the applicant is not required to inform the worker of the specific nature of their disability. An application form must be completed, and it is signed by the applicant after they have read an affidavit attesting to the fact that they are disabled and require the assistance of a service animal.
Punishment for Misuse
California laws make it illegal for anyone to obtain an assistance dog tag who is not entitled to one. Those who are not actually disabled or whose companion animal does not actually perform any helpful tasks may be punished by fine or imprisonment. Likewise, it is unlawful for many businesses to refuse entry to a dog that carries an assistance dog tag. Disabled persons with a service animal that bears the dog tag can take legal action in such a situation.
Assistance dogs provide many beneficial services to their human companions. Obtaining an assistance dog tag readily identifies an animal's service capacity and should grant them the right to enter most buildings in California.