Service animals, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, are dogs that have been trained to perform a specific task, and are able to go wherever their owner goes, with very few exceptions. Service animals can perform many functions, like guiding someone who is blind, helping a person with physical limitations to walk or press automatic door openers, or helping an owner to short-circuit psychiatric symptoms associated with PTSD or Panic Disorder.
Students with disabilities accompanied by a service animal are encouraged to contact Disability Services in advance of beginning classes. Such courtesy notification allows our staff to make appropriate arrangements, offer any necessary assistance prior to the handler’s arrival on campus, and to notify the campus law enforcement or security personnel office of the animal’s presence in case of an emergency.
There are only two questions that can be asked of the owner of a service animal to determine its legitimacy. If it is readily apparent that the dog is providing a service, as in the case of helping to guide a blind person, these questions are considered inappropriate and should not be asked.
- Do you have the animal because of a disability?
- What is the animal trained to do?
All service animals, and service animals-in-training – including puppies – that are being trained to become a service animal, must wear an orange-colored bandana, leash, collar, harness, cape or coat that identifies the animal as a service animal or service animal-in-training.
The owner of a service animal is responsible for cleaning up after it. A service animal can be banned if it is not housebroken or if the animal is disruptive.
A service animal cannot be excluded from a class merely because another student has a dog allergy. Our staff would work with an instructor to make sure the service animal and the student with a dog allergy keep a safe distance in the classroom.
With the owner’s permission, others may interact with a service animal.
For those interested in learning more about service animals, the following Department of Justice publications are available: one with the final regulations about service animals, and the other to a frequently asked questions page. The full CSCU BOR policy on animals on campus can be found at 5.10 Animals on Campus Policy.pdf (ct.edu).