The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities." Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program government or a training program.
Service animals (service dogs) that accompany persons with disabilities may accompany the individual with a disability (partner) everywhere on campus except in situations where safety may be compromised or where the service dog may interfere with the fundamental nature of the activities being conducted.
- Other than dogs, the only type of animal that can be considered a service animal under the ADA is a miniature horse, though miniature horses may be subject to somewhat greater restrictions than service dogs. Consequently, in the rest of this policy, dogs and service dogs will be used when referring to service animals.
- Students with disabilities who will require the presence of a service dog on-campus are encouraged to self-identify to the DRC so that any concerns or restrictions on the behavior or presence of the dog can be discussed.
Requirements for Service Dogs
- Service dogs may not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of persons on the college campus.
- Local ordinances regarding animals apply to service dogs, including requirements for immunizations, licensing, noise, restraint, at-large animals and dangerous animals.
- The student must be in full control of the dog at all times. Service dogs must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individuals disability prevents using these devices. In the latter cases, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
- The care and supervision of a service dog is solely the responsibility of the partner. The dog must be maintained (kept clean) and may not create safety hazards for other people. In addition, student partners are urged to have the service animal wear a descriptive vest when in public places.
- The student is responsible for immediately cleaning up and properly disposing of the dog's waste and is responsible for having the equipment to do so. Partners who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of waste are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance. The College is not responsible for these services. The College retains the right to designate a particular area for the dogs to relieve themselves.
- The College also may designate specific areas as off-limits to service animals due to health and safety concerns for the animal, the owner, and/or other community members.
- The student, not the College, is responsible for the actions of the service animal including bodily injury or property damage. In addition, the College retains the right to remove the dog should the dog become a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
Faculty, staff, and students should know the following about service animals:
- Allow a service dog to accompany the partner at all times and everywhere on campus, except where service animals are specifically prohibited. The courts have upheld the rights of service animal owners to take service animals into food service locations.
- Do not pet a service dog without first asking permission; touching the animal might distract it from its work.
- Speak first to the partner.
- Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
- Do not feed a service animal.
- Do not separate or attempt to separate a partner from his or her service animal.
- In case of an emergency, every effort should be made to keep the animal with its partner.