Service Animal Access for Students with Disabilities

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a Service Animal is defined as...

28 C.F.R. § 35.104 and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104

"...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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability..."

Animals other than dogs are not considered Service Animals (although in some instances, miniature horses may be used), nor are animals that provide emotional support, comfort or companionship. To qualify as a Service Animal, the dog must be trained to do work or perform tasks which are directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Guiding individuals who are blind or low vision
  • Alerting people who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Stabilizing/calming a person with anxiety or Posttraumatic Stress Disorder during a panic attack or flashback
  • Assisting an individual in a wheelchair 

Service animals must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability anywhere on or off campus (e.g. classes, meetings, events, internships, field work, etc.). In compliance with the ADA, service animals are welcome in all buildings on campus. However, if admitting service animals would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program or if there are environmental hazards or risks (e.g. sterile environments, labs with hazardous materials, etc.), service animals may be prohibited. For example, a service animal could be restricted from a specific area of a residence hall reserved specifically for students with allergies to dog dander. Although it is not required, it is strongly recommended that any student with a disability who utilizes a service animal on campus consider registering with Student Accessibility Services (see registration and accommodation procedures).

When it is not obvious what service or task an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed (two questions):

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

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove their service animal from the premises unless:

  • The service animal is not housebroken.
  • The service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it.

The owners of disruptive or aggressive Service Animals may be asked to remove them from college facilities. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be told not to bring the Service Animal into any facility until they take significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Cleanliness of the Service Animal is mandatory. Daily grooming and occasional baths should keep service 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.

When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, other accommodations will be offered to provide the individual with the disability equal access to services and/or programs without the animal's presence.

South Texas College is an equal education and equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer. South Texas College does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment, student, or applicant for admission on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, parental status, disabilities, genetic information, veteran status, or any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law. Conduct that excludes participation, denies benefits or subjects others to discrimination is prohibited. The College complies with all applicable policies and state and federal legislation in order to combat discrimination.

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