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Service and Emotional Support Animal Guidelines

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Elizabethtown College seeks to accommodate persons with disabilities requiring the assistance of a qualified service or therapy animal.  Students should make requests regarding service or therapy animals to the Director of Disability Services, 228 Baugher Student Center, Elizabethtown College, at least 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which the request is being made. Determinations will be made on a case by case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether such animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus.  Where it is not readily apparent an animal is a service animal as defined by ADA, or an assistance animal under the FHA, Disability Services may require sufficient documentation to determine whether the animal qualifies.  This process may include additional conversations between Disability Services and the requesting student.

Definitions: Service Animal
Under ADA, a public accommodation shall modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of service animals by an individual with a disability. ADA defines a service animal as a dog individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Other species of animals, whether trained or untrained, are not considered services animals (with the exception of miniature horses). The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting during a seizure, alerting to the presence of allergens, and preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. 

Documentation and Inquiries regarding Service Animals: The college is able to make the following inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

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

When it is not readily apparent the individual has a disability or an animal is a service animal, the college may require the student to submit documentation from the treating health care provider with the following information in order to make a determination:

  • the individual has a disability for which the animal is necessary
  • how the animal assists the person, including whether the animal has undergone any training
  • the relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides

Responsibilities of the Student with the Service Animal: The service animal must be under the control of its handler.  A harness, leash, or other tether must be used unless the handler is unable because of the disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or if the use of a harness, leash, or other tether interferes with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of the work or task.   In such cases, the service animal must remain under the student’s control, such as voice control.

The student must provide care and supervision of the service animal.  The College is not responsible for the animals care or supervision. All students are responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal's feces while on campus.

The animal must not be placed in a location blocking access for others.

It is the handler's responsibility to ensure that the service animal is in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks, and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations.

Exceptions: Elizabethtown College may ask a student with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the student does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken. If Elizabethtown College properly excludes a service animal, it must give the student the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on college property.

Definition: Therapy/Emotional Support Animal - While only service animals are recognized under the Rehabilitation Act and ADA, the FHA provides for a broader range of therapy or emotional support animals in campus housing.  A "therapy" or “emotional support” animal is an animal whose role is to provide companionship, affection, security, calming influence, emotional support, or otherwise function as part of a regimen of psychological treatment. Federal law does not give therapy animals’ access to the campus as a whole.  While a college or university may be required to reasonably accommodate a therapy animal in a residence hall or campus apartment, the institution is not required to allow that student to bring the animal to other areas or buildings on campus unless the animal also qualifies as service animal under ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Documentation and Inquiries regarding Therapy Animals: Students requesting a therapy animal as a reasonable accommodation under FHA should submit documentation from the treating health care provider with the following information so the college can make a determination.  This documentation must contain the following information:

1. the person has a disability

2. the animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling, and

3. there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides. 

Responsibilities of the Student with the Therapy Animal - As with service animals, the student is responsible for the care and supervision of the therapy animal.  The college is not responsible for the animals care or supervision. The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal's feces while on campus. It is the students  responsibility to ensure the animal is animal is in good health, clean,  free of fleas and ticks, and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations.

Exceptions: Elizabethtown College may ask an individual with a disability to remove a therapy animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken. If Elizabethtown College properly excludes a service animal, it must give the individual with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on college property.

Grievance Procedures: Students who wish to appeal a denied request for use of a service or therapy animal should refer to the grievance procedure.

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