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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Service Animal Policy

Policy Statement

Everglades University adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in allowing use of service animals[1] for students, staffs, and visitors. It is the policy of Everglades University that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on any Everglades University campus except as described below.

Definition

“Service animal” is defined by the ADA, as amended in 2008 and 2010, as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasked performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA[2].

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

When a Service Animal can be Asked to Leave

A service animal may be asked to leave an Everglades University facility or program if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Service animals may be also excluded in areas where the presence of a service animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity or is disruptive. This may include but is not limited to: research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, and food preparation areas. In addition, if a service animal is found by the University to be out of control and the animal’s handler does not take immediate and effective action to control the service animal; if the service animal is physically ill; if the service animal is unreasonably dirty; if a service animal attempts to enter a place on campus where the presence of a service animal causes danger to the safety of the handler or other students/ members of campus, or where the service animal’s safety is compromised. Furthermore, animals not covered under the ADA service animal definition can be asked to leave an Everglades University facility or program. Questions related to the use of service animals on campus should be directed to Jared Bezet at 561-912-1211.

Students

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions:

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

Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.[3] Administration will not ask for documentation or about the nature of the disability, require medical documentation, require special identification or training documentation for that animal, or ask to witness the animal perform the work or task.

Appeals and Grievances

Any student dissatisfied with a decision concerning a service animal can use the Everglades University Grievance Procedure located in the catalog.

Requirements for the Service Animal

Service animals must be immunized against diseases typical to that type of animal. All vaccinations must be current. Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag.

  1. Licensing: dogs must wear a license tag in the local town/city of the particular Everglades University campus. The handler is responsible for complying with the local dog control and licensing laws. Documentation may be required.
  2. Leash: Dogs must be on a harness, leash, or tether at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to the owner/keeper’s disability, or unless such a restraint would interfere with the animal’s ability to safely and effectively perform its duties.
  3. Under Control: The owner/keeper of a service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of the owner/keeper.
  4. Animal Cleanup: The owner/keeper of a service animal is responsible for independently removing or arranging for the removal of the service animal’s waste.
  5. Care: The handler is responsible for the costs of care necessary for a service animal’s well-being. The arrangements and responsibilities with the care of the service animal is the sole responsibility of the owner at all times, including regular bathing and grooming, as needed.

Emotional Support Animals[4][5]

Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals may be used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals. They are not considered service animals under the ADA.

For animals to be designated as Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals, students are required to demonstrate that their animals are a reasonable accommodation for an emotional or mental health disability. Demonstrating this need requires documentation from a treating medical or mental health professional certifying that the Emotional Support Animal or Comfort Animal is part of a prescribed treatment plan for the disabling condition and alleviates symptoms or effects of a disability. Students must receive Emotional Support Animal designation from the Accommodations Review Committee (ARC) prior to bringing their animals to campus.

[1] Excerpt from Service Animals On Campus policy of Cornell University, the Service Animal Policy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Service Animal Policy of Houghton College.

[2] Department of Justice Revised ADA Regulations Implementing Title II and Title III

[3] From US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA” page: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

[4] Brennan, J., & Nguyen, V. (2014).  Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals.  ADA National Network.  Retrieved from https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet

[5] Excerpt from Emotional Support Animals & Service Animals policy of Eckerd College, http://www.eckerd.edu/counselinghealth/aes/specialized/animals.php