FAQ's: Service Dog-Related Questions

Question:

I have seen dogs in the Depot, South Campus Marketplace, Student Recreation Center, and classrooms.  I think they are service animals, but I'm not sure.  What can I do if I'm unsure if the dog is actually a service animal?
The U.S. Department of Justice, Guidance on Service Animals is an excellent resource.  Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  Generally speaking, service animals are allowed to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.  In addition, Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents using these devices.  In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

When there is a question about whether a dog is a service animal, there are only two questions staff may ask the individual:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

These two questions should not be asked when it is obvious what service the animal provides (i.e., guiding an individual who is blind).  In addition, staff cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate the ability to perform the work or task.

 

Question:

Are dogs the only type of service animal allowed?  I've heard of "service cats", "service rabbits", etc.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Guidance on Service Animals is an excellent resource.  Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.  In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department's revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.  Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. 

Cats and rabbits cannot be "service animals" but may be emotional support or assistance animals and be permitted as a reasonable accommodation ("necessary assistance animal") for persons with disabilities.  Emotional Support or Assistance animals do not meet the definition of a service animal and are not allowed to accompany an individual with a disability in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.  However, they may be allowed to live on campus with a resident/student.  Students requiring a "necessary assistance animal" should contact the SDRC for information.

 

 

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