Disability Services - Service Animal Policy
The College of Saint Elizabeth recognizes the access needs of all disabled individuals and complies with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Consequently, the College recognizes the need for some disabled individuals, due to the nature and severity of their disability, to utilize a service animal while on campus, and within campus facilities.
This policy defines the context, rules and documentation requirements that must be met prior to the introduction of a service animal on campus and/or within college facilities, and while the service animal is working and/or residing on campus.
- A person with a service or therapy animal who has a disability is called a partner. A person working with a service or therapy animal without a disability is called a handler.
- A pet is a domesticated animal that only serves the role of providing a sense of pleasure/leisure companionship to its owner. Pets are not the same as service animals and are not accorded the same legal status as service animals. Pets are not permitted on campus or in college facilities.
- The U.S. Department of Justice defines service animals as: animals that are individually trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities such as guiding people who are blind; alerting people who are deaf; pulling wheelchairs; alerting or protecting individuals who are about to or are experiencing a seizure; or other specific tasks related to an individual's specific disability needs. Service animals may perform such tasks as: guiding/pulling wheelchairs; turning lights on/off; retrieving objects from the floor or other location; opening doors; pushing buttons on elevator doors; providing assistance to an individual who has fallen out of a wheelchair.
Types of Service Animals
- Appropriately trained dog that guides a blind or visually impaired individual helping the disabled individual avoid obstacles; crossing streets.
- Appropriately trained dog that provides a sense of sound for a deaf individual alerting the individual to smoke alarms; fire alarms; door knock or bell; ringing of a telephone; alarm clock; kitchen timer; a baby's cry.
- Appropriately trained dog that provides strength and movement for a disabled individual with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and/or congenital abnormalities.
Seizure Alert Dog
- Appropriately trained dog that may provide protection for an individual during a seizure; may be trained to go for help; may have been successfully trained to recognize specific changes in the individual preceding a seizure and alert the individual to an impending seizure by barking or whimpering.
- Appropriately trained dog that may mitigate symptoms of an individual's disability. Some of the task that may be performed by a psychiatric service dog may include: reminding the individual to take medication; provide safety checks/search rooms; turning on lights; interrupting self-mutilation; and/or keeping disoriented individual from danger.
- A disabled student must register with the Office of Disability Services providing documentation of disability as per the College's disability documentation requirements (see student handbook and/or College website). The documentation must contain a clear explanation of the need for the specific type of service animal citing the services to be provided by the service animal. Students planning on residing in the college's residence halls must notify the Office of Residence Life of their need for a service animal, and clear indication that the student has registered with the college's Office of Disability Services.
- A faculty member who is disabled and requires a service animal must register with the College's Office of Human Recourses. Such notification should indicate that the faculty member has registered with the College's Office of Disability Services and provided the latter office with appropriate documentation of disability that also indicates a disability related need for the service animal and explains the services to be provided by the service animal.
- A visitor does not have to register with or provide documentation to the Office of Disability Services, but must report to Campus Security who will provide the visitor with a copy of this policy.
- Licensing – the animal must meet all of the licensing requirements of the community in which the animal resides and wear, at all times, the communities required tags.
- Health Records – The animal must have, and the disabled individual must provide to the Office of Disability Services, a health statement that includes a record of vaccinations from a licensed veterinarian dated within the last calendar year. Such vaccinations and proof of vaccinations must be provided to the Office of Disability Services on an annual basis. The animal must be well groomed, and measures should be taken by the owner for flea and odor control. The animal's owner must be considerate of other members of the college community when providing maintenance and hygiene assistance to the animal.
- The animal must be on a leash at all times. The animal should never be permitted to wander about off leash except in those situations in which the animal is working.
- The partner/handler must be in full control of the animal at all times.
- Service animals are prohibited from kitchens and food preparation areas except those in residence facilities.
- Service animals may be prohibited from areas such as science labs if the lab supervisor has reason to believe that the animal's presence may compromise the environment, or if the environment may pose a physical danger to the service animal.
In an emergency situation every effort should be made to keep the partner and animal together. Campus staff should be trained to recognize a service animal, and to be aware that an animal may be attempting to communicate a need for assistance. Staff should also be mindful of the protective nature of the service animal in relation to the partner, and/or may be confused or agitated by the emergency situation. If possible try to direct/assist the partner in a manner that does not interfere with the partner/service animal relationship. If the partner is incapacitated, wait for Campus Security or the College's Emergency Response Team who are trained to deal with the situation.
Exclusion from Campus
A service animal may be excluded from campus for the following reasons:
- Disruptive behavior: including, but not limited to, barking, whining, growling, wandering, sniffing (people, tables in eating areas, other people's belongings) initiation of contact with others without partner's permission
- Hygiene-dirty strong odor, evidence of having flees, ticks, etc.
- Animal is not on a leash
- Obstruction of aisles or passageways
- Aggressive behavior
Students and campus personnel should not:
- Prevent a service animal from accompanying its partner as they move about campus except where specifically prohibited
- Pet, feed, or otherwise interfere with or distract the service animal
- Startle, tease, or taunt the service animal
- Attempt to separate the service animal and its partner
Persons with conflicting disabilities, i.e. asthma or other respiratory illness, allergies, should contact/register with the College's Office of Disability Services and provide medical documentation citing the nature of the disability, seriousness of the disability, and the nature of the conflict. Resolution of the student/staff concern will consider the disability needs of the parties involved and will be accomplished as expeditiously as possible.
Appeals concerning this policy may be addressed through the office of Disability Services Appeal Procedure which is contained in the student handbook.