Service Animal Definition
A Service Animal is an animal, ordinarily a dog, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service Animals are not pets. Emotional support, comfort, or companion animals are not considered Service Animals unless they have been trained to perform a task to assist a person with a disability. These tasks may include but are not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sound, pulling a wheelchair, carrying and/or retrieving dropped items, etc.
Identifying a Service Animal
Service Animals are not required to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. In situations where it is not obvious that a dog is a Service Animal, staff may ask the following two qualifying questions:
- Is the dog a Service Animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
Staff may not ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, and/or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. Staff should not pet or otherwise engage with a Service Animal without the handler’s permission.
Requirements for Service Animals
In all cases, Service Animals must be accompanied by their handler and responsive to commands.
Disruptive Service Animals
A person with a disability may be asked to remove their Service Animal from the premises by a staff member if:
- The animal is not housebroken.
- The animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it. Examples include: persistent barking, jumping, or running away.
- The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. A direct threat does not exist if the Service Animal’s handler takes prompt, effective action to control the animal.
Please see the Student Disability Services Animal Policy for additional information.