What is a Service Animal?
Service animals are animals that assist specific individuals in their daily life as it relates to the individual’s disability. An individual who requires a service animal must notify the College and request approval for the use the animal on campus. The individual is required to provide the College with proof of a disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the ADA. The animal must also be individually trained to perform the tasks to assist the individual. Pets, therapy, companion or comfort animals are not included in this definition of service animals and are not permitted in campus buildings.
Therapy, Companion or Comfort Animals are animals that have been prescribed as treatment and, while they may be an integral part of therapy, they generally do not assist the individual with specific tasks in their daily living. They may or may not be trained and certified. They are not considered to be service animals and do not have the rights of service animals. Persons who believe their therapy animal meets the requirements for a service animal should follow the ADA grievance policy.
Process of Obtaining Approval
- Handlers must request approval to use a service animal on campus.
- Handlers are required to verify their own disability and submit requested documentation to the Coordinator for Disability Support Services (Academic Services)
- Handlers may be required to provide documentation from their personal physicians
- Provide documentation to the Coordinator for Disability Support Services that the animal meets the definition of a service animal
- Provide evidence of the service animal’s current clean health and vaccinations
- Forms and information may be obtained from the Coordinator for Disability Support Services
Responsibilities of Handlers
- The animal must wear a vaccination tag
- The handler must ensure that the service animal has annual veterinary visits.
- The animal must be on a leash or harness at all times
- Service animals must wear identification that that indicates their work status (e.g. harness, cape, ID tag) at all times
- Must be in full control of the service animal at all times. A handler may be required to leave College facilities or grounds if an animal is disruptive or unruly (e.g. barking, running around.) If an animal repeatedly demonstrates improper behavior, the handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal to campus or in College facilities until significant steps are taken to mitigate the behavior (e.g. re-training, muzzling). In such cases, evidence of the steps taken must be submitted to the Coordinator for Disability Support Services
- Are solely responsible for arrangements for the care of the service animal at all times. A handler may be required to leave College facilities or grounds when their animal is ill. Ill animals should not be taken into public areas.
- Must regularly bathe the animal to avoid significant odors, shedding and fleas. Handlers with animals that are unclean or unkempt may be required to leave the College facilities/grounds.
- Must carry equipment to clean up feces while on College property. Feces must be cleaned up immediately and disposed of properly.
- Will be held responsible for any damage or injuries caused by the service animal to persons or property.
Responsibilities of Members of the College Community
- Must permit service animals to accompany their handlers all places on campus, other than places where there is a health, environmental, or safety hazard (e.g. teaching laboratories, mechanical rooms/custodial closets, areas where protective clothing is necessary, or other areas where there is a danger to the service animal such as metal cuttings, sharp objects on the floor, hot material on the floor, high levels of dust, or where there is moving machinery.)
- Must not pet or disturb a service animal. Always request permission to pet a service animal
- Must not offer food or treats to the service animal without asking permission from the partner
- Must not deliberately startle a service animal
- Must not separate or attempt to separate a service animal from his/her partner
- Should not hesitate to ask the partner if she/he would like assistance
- Must report incidents of misbehavior by the service animal, mistreatment of the service animal by the handler or engagement of the service animal in inappropriate or unethical behavior by any person to the Coordinator for Disability Support Services in the Office of Academic Services
Exceptions and Grievances
Any handler dissatisfied with a decision made concerning a service animal should follow the ADA grievance procedures.
Any student who is uncomfortable living with a service animal in the residence hall should request a room change with the Office of Residence Life.