Service animals are trained to assist people with disabilities in the activities of normal living. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of service animals is “... any ... animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.” 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.
Pet: A domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship. Pets are not permitted in university facilities.
Service Animal: Any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Service animals are usually dogs, but may be monkeys. A few other animals have been presented as service animals. A service animal is sometimes called an assistance animal.
Questions about whether an animal qualifies as a service animal should be directed to the Office of Disability Services.
TYPES OF SERVICE DOGS
- A guide dog is a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool for persons with severe visual impairments or who are blind.
- A hearing dog is a dog that has been trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound, such as a knock on the door, occurs.
- A service dog is a dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment. Types of duties the dog may perform include: carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, and helping a person up after the person falls. Service dogs are sometimes called assistance dogs.
- A Ssig (sensory or social signal) dog is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements common among those with autism, allowing the person to stop the movement, such as hand flapping. A person with autism may have problems with sensory input and may need the same support services from a dog that a dog might give to a person who is blind or deaf.
- A seizure response dog is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. How the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have somehow learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.
REQUIREMENTS FOR FACULTY, STAFF AND STUDENTS
- Allow a service animal to accompany the partner at all times and everywhere on campus, except where service animals are specifically prohibited.
- Do not pet a service animal; petting a service animal when the animal is working distracts the animal from the task at hand.
- Do not feed a service animal. The service animal may have specific dietary requirements. Unusual food or food at an unexpected time may cause the animal to become ill.
- Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
- Do not separate or attempt to separate a partner/handler from that person’s service animal.
REQUIREMENTS OF SERVICE ANIMALS AND THEIR PARTNERS/HANDLERS
- Vaccination: The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have had the general maintenance vaccine series, which includes vaccinations against rabies, distemper and parvovirus. Other animals must have had the appropriate vaccination series for the type of animal. All vaccinations must be current. Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag. Proof of vaccination must be on file with the Health and Wellness Center.
- Owner ID and Other Tags: Some handlers carry a certification from the school that trained that animal, but certification cannot be required. Many service animals will be wearing a harness, cape or backpack, but some will have only a leash.
- Health: The animal must be in good health. Animals to be housed in campus housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.
- Leash: The animal must be on a leash at all times.
- Under Control of Partner/Handler: The partner/handler must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler.
- Cleanup rule: 1) Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the dog’s feces whenever the dog and partner are off the partner’s property; 2) Never allow the dog to defecate on any property, public or private (except the partner’s own property), unless the partner immediately removes the waste; 3) Properly dispose of the feces. Individuals with disabilities who cannot physically clean up after their own service animal may not be required to pick up and dispose of feces. However, if possible, a nearby person should be asked to assist you.
CONDITIONS FOR KEEPING A SERVICE ANIMAL
- Disruption: The partner of an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking running around, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the partner may be told not to bring the animal into any university facility until the partner takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Mitigation can include muzzling a barking animal or refresher training for both the animal and the partner.
- Ill Health: Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas. A partner with an ill animal may be asked to leave university facilities.