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Service Animals on Campus

Photo of a service dog

Some students with disabilities require service animals in order to help them access the university environment. Please note however, not all students who utilize a service animal may be registered with the Office of Educational Accessibility and you may not receive and accommodation letter regarding the animal.

According to the 2012 Amendments of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as:

  • Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Typical services may include:

  • Guiding a student with a visual impairment from class to class
  • Opening doors and accessing materials for a student with physical disabilities
  • Alerting a student with a seizure disorder to an oncoming seizure

Service dogs' jobs revolve around mitigating their handlers' disabilities, and disabilities are very personal matters. It is a natural curiosity to ask about the service dog, but respecting the person's privacy regarding the nature of their disability is imperative.

Points to consider:

  • If the animal is required and has been specifically trained to perform a service, then the animal is allowed by law to be on campus and have access to all reasonable spaces.
  • If the animal has not been specifically trained to perform a service for a person with a disability, then the animal is not allowed to be on campus.
  • The animal must be a dog, must be housebroken, and must be in fully control of the owner.

When encountering a student with a service animal on campus, there are only 2 questions that are allowed to be asked:

  1. If the animal is required because of a disability and

  2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

When encountering a service animal please keep in mind:

  • The animal is working
  • A person's health may depend upon the dog's ability to concentrate
  • Distracting the dog could result in the dog developing bad habits thus resulting in potential injury to the person that relies on the dog
  • Please do not play with the service animal or engage in any interaction

For a more complete listing and additional information, please visit:http://servicedogcentral.org

If you have any further questions on service animals, please contact the Office of Educational Accessibility.