• Service Animals

  • Assistance Animals

Service Animals

Service Animal Policy

Service animals are animals trained to assist individuals with disabilities in the activities of independent living.  Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal means any dog or miniature horse 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.  No other species of animal may serve as a service animal. Service animals are not pets. Service animals are not assistance animals: emotional support, therapy, or comfort animal. 

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.  Examples of work or tasks may 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;
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work;
  • Pulling a wheelchair;
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure;
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens;
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone;
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities;
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
  • Providing deep pressure therapy to individuals with psychiatric disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service animals on all St. Edward’s campuses where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go, unless the university determines that permitting the service animal poses a health or safety concern, the service animal is not housebroken or cannot be effectively controlled by the owner.  The accompaniment of an individual with a disability by a service animal in locations with health and safety restrictions, such as food preparation areas and laboratories, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate department representative(s) in collaboration with Students Disability Services.

An individual with a disability may be asked to remove a service animal from the university if the animal cannot be effectively controlled by its owner, or the animal is not housebroken.  If the university determines that a service animal must be excluded, the individual with a disability will be provided the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

The university is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.  A service animal shall be under the control of its owner.  A service animal shall have a harness, leash or other tether, unless either the individual is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the owner’s control (e.g., voice control, signals or other effective means). The service animal is considered an extension of the person and therefore must be compliant with the same public rules and regulations that a person must comply with. Service animals are under the same Student Code of Conduct as the students.

Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal. In making a decision whether to permit accompaniment of a service animal, the University shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability.  University officials may, however, ask these two questions: 

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

The university shall not charge a surcharge for the service animal, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees.  If the university normally charges individuals for damages caused by a pet, an individual with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by the service animal. 

Assistance Animals

Assistance Animal Policy

Assistance animals, also known as therapy, comfort or emotional support animals (ESA), alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effect of an individual’s disability. The assistance performed by the animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Assistance animals are not service animals, which are defined in and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Therefore, assistance animals may be considered in conjunction with access to university housing but they are not permitted in other areas of the university (e.g. libraries, academic buildings, classrooms, dining areas, labs, work areas, student centers, etc.). Students found in violation of this policy are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

In accordance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Student Disability Services (SDS) at St. Edward’s University engages in an interactive and collaborative process with students in order to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations, including the use of an assistance animal in university housing.

Under the FHA, a person may keep an assistance animal in her/his residence hall or campus apartment as a reasonable accommodation if:

  • The individual has a disability;
  • The animal is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing; and
  • There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

Assistance animals are allowed only in the residence hall or campus apartment to which the individual with a disability is assigned by Residential Life. In making a decision whether to permit an assistance animal, the university shall inquire:

  • About the nature or extent of a student’s disability that substantially limits a major life activity;
  • If the assistance animal is necessary for the student to use or enjoy his or her residence;
  • About the relationship between the student’s disability and the relief that the animal provides; and
  • Require veterinary verification of vaccines for the animal.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Assistance Animals

The university is not responsible for the care or supervision of an assistance animal. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their assistance animals at all times and for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Individuals must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws, as well as the university’s rules in lease provisions regarding vaccination, licensure, leash control, cleanup rules, animal health, and community relationships.

The university may exclude an assistance animal from university housing if the animal is not housebroken; would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others or university facilities; would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity; or is not being cared for by the individual. Students will be liable for damage caused by assistance animals in the same manner they are responsible for personal damages to university property.

Requesting an Assistance Animal

Assistance animals are approved through the Housing Accommodation Process in Student Disability Services.