Accessibility Services: Information About Animals On Campus

Therapy and Emotional Support Animals

The Fair Housing Act states that therapy or emotional support animals are not limited to just dogs, but rather it is whatever animal is prescribed by your doctor or therapist as being needed to give you full have access to the dorms, along with how that animal will allow you to use and enjoy our University housing.

You will need to get and fill out an application from housing and submit it along with the appropriate documentation. Documentation can be a letter from the doctor who is prescribing the emotional support animal that verifies you do have a disability, according to ADA and FHA regulations, and how that disability limits one or more major life functions, along with why the accommodation of a therapy or emotional support animal is necessary for you to use and enjoy campus housing.

In addition to the application for an emotional support animal, you will also need to register with Accessibility Services. Please contact shope@lssu.edu, to get a registration form to fill out and submit, along with your verification of disability documentation. Your application and documentation will be reviewed by the LSSU Counseling Center as well as Accessibility Services and Housing.

Once received, your applications will be reviewed along with the animal that you have been prescribed. LSSU may consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with therapy of emotional support animals:

1. The size of the animal; whether or not it may be too large for available assigned housing space;

2. Whether of not the animal’s presence would force another individual from individual housing (e.g. serious allergies);

3. Whether the animal’s presence otherwise violates individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment;

4. Whether or not the animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;

5. Whether or not the animal’s vaccinations are up-to-date;

6. Whether or not the animal poses, or has posed in the past, a direct threat to the individual or others such as aggressive behavior towards, or injuring, the individual or others;

7. Whether or not the animal causes, or has caused, excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear.

You will be responsible for any excessive damages caused by your animal.

If the animal is approved it will be limited to your dorm room and not permitted in most other buildings on campus. It must stay within your privately assigned accommodations or room suite. The only time it can be outside of your dorm room is for toileting; and don’t forget that you will be required to clean up after your animal outside, as well as inside.

For more information or assistance with applications you may contact Accessibility Services, Counseling Services or Housing & Residential Life at the numbers listed below.

Accessibility Services 906-635-2802

Counseling Services 906-635-2752

Housing 906-635-2411

Service Dogs

Service dog opening door.

A service dog opening the door

Are all animals owned by people with disabilities classified as service animals?

No. The ADA has a specific definition for what a service animal is.Under the ADA, a service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

What exactly is a service animal?

Under the ADA, a service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

So it has to be a dog?

Yes, with one exception. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of the ADA. But there is a possible exception for miniature horses.

Back to the ADA definition of service animal, what does it mean by “does work or performs tasks”?

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’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 an individual during a seizure, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

My animal doesn’t do those things, but it’s a big dog and is a deterrent to criminal activity, which is important to my well-being. Does that count?

No, the crime deterrent effect of an animal’s presence does not constitute work or tasks for purposes of the ADA definition of service animal.

My animal does not do those kinds of tasks, but it provides emotional support for me. I have a letter from my doctor saying that the animal provides comfort to me and should be with me at all times. Does that meet the definition?

No, the ADA regulations are very specific on that. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of the definition.

So comfort animals, emotional support animals, or therapy animals are not service animals and are not covered by the ADA. The definition mentions service dogs for psychiatric disabilities, though. Isn’t a therapy animal the same thing?

No. There are psychiatric service dogs, but that’s not the same as a comfort or therapy animal. Psychiatric service animals are trained to perform tasks that assist individuals with disabilities to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and ameliorate their effects. Tasks performed by psychiatric service dogs may include reminding the handler to take medicine, providing safety checks or room searches for persons with PTSD, interrupting self-mutilation, and removing disoriented individuals from dangerous situations. The difference between an emotional support animal and a psychiatric service animal is the work or tasks that the animal performs.

Where is a service animal allowed to go?

Generally, a service animal is allowed to go wherever the person with the disability can go, meaning that they can go wherever the public is allowed to go.

Are there circumstances under which a person might have to remove a service animal, even if it meets the definition of service animal?

Yes, but it’s rare. It’s all right to ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it, or the animal is not housebroken. What the regulations mean by the animal being “out of control” is that the animal must be under the individual’s control. It must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the individual is unable to use one of those because of the disability and, if that’s the case, then the animal still has to be under some kind of control – like voice control or signals.

If a service animal is on the premises, who is responsible for its care and supervision?

That’s an easy one. The person with the service animal is responsible for its care and supervision at all times. The entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.

Is it all right for a business or other entity to require documentation that shows that the animal is a service animal?

Unless it is readily apparent that the animal is a service animal (and most of the time, it is apparent), then the entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability. It is not, however, allowed to require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.

From: https://adata.org/sites/cms.adata.org/files/files/ADANN_DisabilityLawHandbook_13.pdf

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