Service, Therapy, and Companion Animals on Campus
Service animals and therapy animals are a hot topic nationally. This page provides definitions and explanations of the policies regarding animals on the UAA campus. Please also see the 2010 Revised ADA Requirements
Service animals are not pets and are not subject to rules and policies pertaining to pets. A service animal is defined as an:
...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. (ADA Title III, 28 CFR Sec 36.104).
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act. businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow individuals with disabilities to bring their service animals with them anywhere they would allow the individual to go without the animal unless doing so would pose a danger to health or safety or cause undue burden.
Identifying Service Animals
Ex. 1) An individual is wearing dark glasses and has a dog on a harness who is wearing a cape that states “Guide Dog”.
In this example, it is probably clear that the individual experiences a disability and that the animal is a service animal. There is no need to inquire further.
Ex. 2) An individual who does not appear to have a disability has a small dog on a regular leash.
In this example it is not immediately apparent whether or not the dog is a service animal. There is no obvious indication that the individual has a disability, and there is no clear evidence that the dog has been trained to perform any task.
If UAA personnel are unsure of the status of an animal, it is permissible to inquire whether the individual has a disability, and if so, what tasks the animal has been trained to perform. It is not acceptable to require identification or certification or ask about the specific type and nature of disability. The verbal statement of the individual should generally be taken as sufficient proof. If there is reason to question the legitimacy of a claim you should advise DSS. DSS may be able to request additional information to establish whether the individual has a disability and that the animal has indeed been trained to provide assistance with specific tasks.
Individuals with disabilities who use a service animal in public spaces on campus are not required to register with Disability Support Services (DSS), but an individual who wishes to have a service animal in student housing must make a formal request for accommodation.
Expectations, Rights, and Responsibilities Related to Service Animals
Health care professionals have recognized and documented the therapeutic effect of animal companionship. Sometimes when an individual has a documented disability, a professional may recommend a therapy animal as an essential part of treatment. It is important to note that therapy animals are not service animals. They do not directly assist humans; there is no legal requirement that individuals have the animals accompany them in public.
Requests to have a therapy animal in campus housing are considered requests for accommodation and will be reviewed on an individualized basis. Individuals making requests must establish that they experience a documented disability and must also establish that the animal is indeed providing essential therapeutic benefit related to the documented disability.
A companion animal is a domestic animal kept for pleasure, companionship, and/or feelings of safety. A companion animal is a pet and although pets are known to provide benefits to owners both with and without disabilities, the benefit is general. The animal is not specifically required on the basis of disability.
Requests to have a companion animal on campus are treated the same as requests to have pets on campus. Individuals must obtain permission from UPD prior to bringing the animal on campus.
Student Requests for Animals on Campus
When a student with a disability wants to use a therapy animal on campus or wants to use a service animal in areas aside from those that are generally are open to the public, a request for accommodation must be made. To do this, the individual should provide documentation to Disability Support Services. The student should also notify University Housing if the request involves having the animal live on campus. Each request will be reviewed on an individualized basis. It is the responsibility of the individual to provide appropriate documentation.
Employee Requests for Animals on Campus
When a UAA employee wants to use a service or therapy animal, a request for accommodation must be made. The individual should provide documentation to the Office of Diversity and Compliance. Each request will be reviewed on an individualized basis. It is the responsibility of the individual to provide appropriate documentation.
Any individual who wishes to challenge the decision reached in the accommodation process can follow the grievance procedure outlined in Regents’ Policy. Copies are available from Disability Support Services, the Office of the Dean of Students, or the Office of Diversity and Compliance.
For students who wish to make a disability related request for accommodation:
Disability Support Services
For individuals who wish to seek permission to bring a pet on campus:
For employees who wish to make a disability related request for accommodation:
Office of Equity and Compliance
University Lake Building, Room 108
Ph (907) 786-4680
For students making disability related housing requests (documentation on file with DSS):
Commons, 700 Sharon Gagnon Lane, Suite 101
Articles of Interest
Americans with Disabilities Act FAQs
Bazelon Center - Fair Housing Info Sheet
Psychiatric Service Dogs versus Emotional Support Animals