Service Dog Policy

Following is a brief description of Cal Poly Humboldt's Service Dog Policy. For the complete policy, please view Cal Poly Humboldt Service Dog Policy.


It is the policy of Cal Poly Humboldt (Humboldt or the University) to provide equal access and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to participate in any program, service, or opportunity provided by the campus; and to comply with applicable law related to service dogs for persons with disabilities, including any such person studying at, employed at, and/or visiting the Humboldt campus. As used in this policy, disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual.

Campus visitors, new arrivals, or other interested persons with a service dog should be provided with this policy and referred to Humboldt’s Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) for more information and/or advising on using a service dog on the Humboldt campus. Humboldt employees should contact the Humboldt Human Resources office for more information.

Service Dogs Generally Permitted on the Humboldt Campus

In accordance with federal law, use of a service dog in university facilities and on university campuses, including attendance at a campus-sponsored concert or special events, may not be challenged except if the use of the dog poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other persons, of if the presence of the service dog will result in a fundamental alteration of the service, program, or activity involved. (Title II of the ADA Regulations, 28 C.F.R. – 130 [b][7])

As a result, a service dog must be permitted to accompany any associated person with a disability anywhere on the Humboldt campus and at off-campus University activities such as curriculum-related internships, fieldwork and Humboldt-affiliated program outings, except in areas and situations where it is unsafe to do so or where the presence of the service dog fundamentally alters the nature of the service, program or activity.

Requirements of Service Dogs and Their Owners on Campus

Humboldt recognizes that service dogs can play an important and necessary role in fostering the independence of some individuals with disabilities. Consequently, an appropriately trained dog, under the control of the individual with the disability, may be allowed in campus facilities where animals would typically not be permitted. The safety and health of Humboldt students, faculty, staff, and the service dog are important concerns therefore, only service dogs and owners that meet the specific criteria below will be exempt from regulations that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals. The care and supervision of a service dog is the responsibility of the person using the dog’s services (owner).

To maintain the safety and health of Humboldt students, faculty and staff, requirements of service dogs and their owners include the following:

  • Dogs must be licensed in accordance with local city or county regulations (i.e., Humboldt County or City of Arcata), which require proof of current rabies vaccination and/or rabies tags.
  • In addition to receiving appropriate vaccinations, service dogs must be in good health. For example, dogs should have routine maintenance for fleas and tick prevention, de-worming, and have annual veterinary examinations. Animals to be housed in university housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian and conform to the requirements of the “Fair Housing Act”.
  • Service dogs must be on a leash at all times (except where the dog must perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of the restraint, or the owner is unable to maintain the dog on a leash due to a disability).
  • The owner must be in full control of the dog at all times.
  • The owner is responsible for the cost to repair any damage done by the service dog to university property, just as the owner would be responsible for damage he or she caused.
  • If requested, the owner must provide information as to what task or work the dog has been trained to do for the benefit of a person with a disability.
  • When entering campus facilities or University vehicles with a service dog, the owner is strongly encouraged to use an identifying vest, tag, leash, or other visible method to indicate to the general public that the animal is a service dog.
  • The owner of a service dog must be responsible for the immediate removal and proper disposal of all fecal matter for the health and safety of all members of the campus community.

Expectations of Service Dogs and Their Owners

Reasonable behavior is expected from service dogs while on campus properties. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation.

Cleanliness of the service dog is mandatory. Daily grooming and occasional baths (at a veterinarian, pet store or owner’s home) should keep dog odor to a minimum. Flea control is essential and adequate preventative measures should be taken. If a flea problem develops, it should be dealt with immediately and in an effective manner. Considerations of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of service dogs.

The University has the authority to remove a service dog from its grounds or facilities if the service dog becomes unruly or disruptive, unclean, and/or unhealthy to the extent that the animal’s behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or otherwise causes a fundamental alteration in the University’s services, programs, or activities. If such behavior persists, the owner may be directed not to bring the dog into public campus areas until the problem is rectified.

Areas Restricted to Service Dogs

The University may prohibit the use of service dogs in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions, where service dogs may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of certain research. Such restricted locations include, but are not limited to, food preparation areas, certain research laboratories, mechanical rooms/custodial closets, classrooms with demonstration/research animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary and other areas where the dog’s presence may constitute a danger or a fundamental alteration of the program or activity conducted in the area. Access to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative and the SDRC.


In the event of a dispute about an accommodation relating to a service dog, or an animal restriction, the concerned party who is a member of the University community (faculty, employee or student) should follow the applicable Humboldt ADA Accommodation Requests and Appeal/Grievance Procedures, which are available at the Humboldt Human Resources Office. All others should contact the U.S. Office for Equal Opportunity or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to file a complaint.

Other Resources

U.S. Department of Justice, Guidance on Service Animals



Back to Policies and Procedures Index