Assistance Animals

Responsibilities of the Individual with Disability Using an Assistance Animal

A person with a disability who utilizes an assistance animal is encouraged to register with the DRC. Registering with the DRC provides an opportunity to discuss additional accommodations, beyond the assistance animal.

University housing staff may consult with or refer a student with a disability to the DRC to assist with determining the reasonableness of the use of an assistance animal as a housing accommodation.

The cost of care, food, arrangements, supervision and responsibilities for the well-being of an assistance animal are the sole responsibility of the owner at all times. Service animals on campus must: 

  • Meet all requirements for the presence of animals in public places (vaccinations, licensure, ID tags, etc.) mandated by State or Local ordinances. 
  • Be in good health. Animals to be housed in University Housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. 
  • Be under control. The person with a disability must be in full control of the animal at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from assistance animals while in University housing. If an assistance animal, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the handler is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation. 
  • Not cause damage to the campus. A person who has an assistance animal in University housing is financially responsible for property damage caused by his or her assistance animal. 
  • Defecate in appropriate places. Individuals using assistance animals must follow local ordinances in cleaning up after the animal defecates, must take their assistance animals to the marked toileting areas for assistance animals, when appropriate, and must also clean up all assistance animal waste and immediately place the waste in the appropriate trash receptacle. 
  • Not cause undue financial burdens to the University. All functions of assistance animal use, including assistance animal training or re-training, independent travel, animal food purchasing and maintenance, grooming, veterinarian care, and hygiene work is considered a personal aid or service and is the full responsibility of the individual with the disability. 

Assistance Animals in University Housing 

The DRC will work with University Housing and the resident with the assistance animal to ensure appropriate accessible housing is provided. The student must make a request for housing accommodations. 

  • Disturbing vocalizations or noises from the animal must be kept to an absolute minimum. 
  • The assistance animal must be “walked” in a specific area designated by the Residence Hall Director or designated staff member. The droppings must be picked up and deposited in a trash can provided specifically for that purpose in the area. 
  • Assistance animals may not be bathed in the shower rooms, bathtubs, or sinks of the residence halls; food dishes must be cleaned only in the large sinks located for resident use on each floor; and service animal food must be kept in a covered storage container.
  • Assistance animals will not be allowed in dining centers. Assistance animals will only be allowed in other public residential spaces to be taken in and out of the building to defecate or to travel to an off campus location.
  • Assistance animals must be able to remain in the residence unattended while the handler (student) is in class or attending other University events.

Removal of Assistance Animals  

The handler of an assistance animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from University housing if the handler does not take effective action to control the animal. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be told not to bring the assistance animal into University housing until the handler takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Mitigation can include muzzling or refresher training for both the animal and the handler. 

Assistance animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas. A handler with an ill animal may be asked to remove the animal from University housing or leave University housing until the animal is healthy. 

Handlers with animals that are unclean or noisome may be asked to leave University housing. An animal that becomes wet from walking in the rain or mud or from being splashed on by a passing automobile, but is otherwise clean, should be considered a clean animal. If the animal in question is usually well-groomed, the University may consider the animal that appears messy due to environmental conditions (rain, snow, sleet, mud, etc.) well-groomed until the handler is able to then groom the animal appropriately (give it a bath, brushing, towel dry, etc.). 

Grievances and/or Complaints

An individual with a disability dissatisfied with a decision made concerning his or her assistance animal should follow the applicable institutional Appeal/Grievance Procedure.  Other individuals who have complaints regarding the use of service or assistance animals in University Housing should direct those to Housing & Dining staff.