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HSU Policies

EM:P08-02 Humboldt State University Service Animal Policy

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I. Policy:

It is the policy of Humboldt State University (HSU or the University) to provide equal access and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to participate in any program, service, or opportunity provided by the campus; and to comply with applicable law related to service animals for persons with disabilities, including any such person studying at, employed by, and/or visiting the HSU campus. As used in this Policy, disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual.

Campus visitors, new arrivals, or other interested persons with service animals should be provided with this Policy and referred to HSU’s Student Disability Resources Center (SDRC). HSU employees should contact the HSU Human Resources Office for more information.

II. “Service Animal” Defined:

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), California law and the policy of the Trustees of California State University (CSU), a “service animal” is defined as:

any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, and alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders, or pulling a wheelchair and fetching dropped items.

Service animals are usually dogs, but may be other animals so trained. A service animal is sometimes called an assistance animal. Examples of service animals include, but are not limited to, guide dogs, hearing dogs, service/assistance dogs, and seizure response dogs.

The law distinguishes between a “service animal” and a “therapy animal.” A therapy animal is an animal with good temperament and disposition, which has reliable, predictable behavior, and is selected to accompany people with disabilities. The animal may be incorporated as an integral part of a treatment process. A therapy animal does not assist an individual with a disability in the activities of daily living. The therapy animal does not accompany a person with a disability at all times, unlike a service animal that is always with a person with a disability. A therapy animal is not considered to be a service animal under this Policy or applicable law. The laws protecting and giving certain rights to bona fide service animals and their owners do not cover therapy animals and their owners.

If there are any questions as to whether an animal qualifies as a service animal, determination will be made by the Director of Human Resources in consultation with SDRC.

III. Service Animals Generally Permitted on the HSU Campus:

In accordance with federal law, use of a service animal in university facilities and on university campuses including attendance at campus-sponsored concerts or special events may not be challenged except if the use of the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other persons, or if the presence of the service animal will result in a fundamental alteration of the service, program, or activity involved. (Title II of the ADA Regulations, 28 C.F.R. – 130 [b] [7])

As a result, a service animal must be permitted to accompany any associated person with a disability anywhere on the HSU campus and at off-campus University activities such as curriculum-related internships, fieldwork and HSU-affiliated program outings, except in areas and situations where it is unsafe to do so or where the presence of the service animal fundamentally alters the nature of the service, program or activity.

IV. Requirements of Service Animals and Their Owners on Campus:

HSU recognizes that service animals can play an important and necessary role in fostering the independence of some individuals with disabilities. Consequently, an appropriately trained animal, under the control of the disabled individual, may be allowed in campus facilities where animals typically would not be permitted. The safety and health of HSU students, faculty, staff, and the service animal are important concerns; therefore, only service animals and owners that meet the specific criteria below will be exempt from regulations that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals.
The care and supervision of a service animal are the responsibility of the person using the animal’s services (owner).

To maintain the safety and health of HSU students, faculty and staff, requirements of service animals and their owners include:

  • Dogs must be licensed in accordance with local city or county regulations (i.e., Humboldt County or City of Arcata), which require proof of current rabies vaccination and/or rabies tags. Other types of service animals must have vaccinations appropriate for that type of animal.
  • In addition to receiving appropriate vaccinations, service animals must be in good health. For example, dogs should have routine maintenance for flea and tick prevention, de-worming, and have annual veterinary examinations. Animals to be housed in university housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.
  • Service animals must be on a leash at all times (except where the animal must perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of the restraint, or the owner is unable to maintain the animal on a leash due to a disability).
  • The owner must be in full control of the animal at all times.
  • The owner is responsible for the cost to repair any damage done by the service animal to university property, just as the owner would be responsible for damage he or she caused.
  • If requested, the owner must provide information as to how the animal provides a service related to his or her disability.
  • When entering campus facilities or University vehicles with an authorized service animal, the owner is strongly encouraged to use an identifying vest, tag, leash, or other visible method to indicate to the general public that the animal is a service animal.
  • The owner of a service animal must be responsible for the immediate removal and proper disposal of all fecal matter for the health and safety of all members of the campus community.

Please complete the “Service Animal Registration” form and sign the “Service Animal Policy Agreement” form, which are available on the SDRC web site:

V. Students, Faculty and Staff with Service Animals:

Students with disabilities desiring the use of a service animal on campus or in campus housing should first register with SDRC as a student with a disability. The Director of SDRC (or designee) will evaluate the disability and recommend any additional accommodations appropriate to the functional limitations of the disability. Students who plan to reside on campus with their service animal need to make the necessary arrangements with SDRC in advance, preferably by notifying SDRC in writing at least two months prior to the date when prospective housing will be needed.

Faculty or staff desiring the use of a service animal on campus should contact the Office of Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources (or designee) will evaluate the situation and make any appropriate recommendations.

VI. Registration, Documentation, and Identification Procedures:

The University may prepare and issue, through HSU’s SDRC or Human Resources Office, authorization documents to the owner of a service animal identifying the owner’s name and describing the service animal. All service animal owners are strongly encouraged to carry such documentation with them when they are accompanied by their service animals.

Identification authorization documents provided by HSU campus officials are intended solely for use on campus and do not imply validity elsewhere.

Disability documentation should clearly establish the specific type and function of the animal.

VII. Expectations of Service Animals and Their Owners:

All service animal owners are strongly encouraged to carry HSU-issued authorization documentation with them when they are accompanied by their service animals on campus or when participating in University events, classes, and activities off-campus.

Reasonable behavior is expected from service animals while on campus properties. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation.

Cleanliness of the service animal is mandatory. Daily grooming and occasional baths (at a veterinarian, pet store or owner’s home) should keep 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. Considerations of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of service animals.

The University has the authority to remove a service animal from its grounds or facilities if the service animal becomes unruly or disruptive, unclean, and/or unhealthy to the extent that the animal’s behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or otherwise causes a fundamental alteration in the University’s services, programs, or activities. If such behavior persists, the owner may be directed not to bring the animal into public campus areas until the problem is rectified.

VIII. Areas Restricted to Service Animals:

The University may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions, where service animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of certain research. Such restricted locations include, but are not limited to, food preparation areas, certain research laboratories, mechanical rooms/custodial closets, classrooms with demonstration/research animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary and other areas where the animal’s presence may constitute a danger or a fundamental alteration of the program or activity conducted in the area. Access to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative and the SDRC.

IX. Conflicting Disabilities:

If another person on campus has a covered disability under the ADA that includes an allergic reaction to animals, and such person has contact with a service animal approved for presence on campus, a request for assistance should be made to the SDRC director who will consider all facts surrounding the contact and make an effort to resolve the issue.

X. University Evaluation Procedures:

Should there be questions or concerns about permitting the presence of a service animal on campus, the matter should be referred to the University’s ADA Compliance Officer in Human Resources. Any questions regarding this Policy should be directed to either the SDRC Office, 707-826-4678 or the Human Resources Office, 707- 826-3626.

XI. Grievances:

In the event of a dispute about an accommodation relating to a service animal, or an animal restriction, a complaining party who is a member of the University community should follow the applicable HSU ADA Accommodation Requests and Appeal/Grievance Procedures, which are available at the HSU Human Resources Office. All others should contact the U.S. Office for Equal Opportunity or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to file a complaint.

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