Original Date: 6/9/2009 * Last Revision Effective: 7/22/2014
Policy Contact: Vice President, Human Resources
The Department of Justice/ADA rule defines “service animal” as a dog or any animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. All students who bring a service animal to campus are encouraged to register with the Disability Resource Center; employees who bring a service animal to campus are encouraged to register with Human Resources.
Types of Service Animals
Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks include:
- Guiding people who are blind
- Alerting people who are deaf
- Pulling a wheelchair
- Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
- Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
- Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack
Individuals with mental disabilities may use service animals that are individually trained to perform a specific task. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, comfort, therapeutic benefit, companionship, are not service animals under the ADA.
Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
The service animal must be clean and in good health. Owners and/or users of service animals must abide by current city ordinances/laws pertaining to licensing and vaccination requirements for service animals. It is the responsibility of the owner and/or user of the animal to know about these ordinances and laws. All owners and or users of dogs or service animals are responsible to clean up after and properly disposing of their animal’s waste.
Inquiries Regarding Service Animals
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions:
- Is the dog or animal a service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the dog or service animal been trained to perform?
Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, requirement medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the service animal, or ask that the service animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other students.
Exclusions of Service Animals
Unless the service animal is not meeting the behavioral or sanitary expectations outlined in this policy, a person with a disability cannot be asked to remove a service animal from the premises. A person with a disability may be asked to remove a service animal from the premises if the service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or the service animal is not housebroken. A service animal may be excluded from a facility, including a classroom, if the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. A service animal may be excluded from a facility, including a classroom, if that animal’s behavior, such as barking, is disruptive to the other participants within the facility.
When there is legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to return to the classroom or activity without the animal’s presence.
A service animal may be excluded from the college temporarily or permanently if it is found to be in violation of the above requirement.
Concerns Regarding Service Animals
A member of the college who has a concern about the behavior of a service animal should direct his/her concern to the ADA compliance officer. Concerns regarding service animals of employees should be reported to the Human Resources Director.
The ADA compliance officer will investigate the concern and determine an appropriate outcome. The ADA compliance officer may consult with the Director of the Disability Resource Center.
Any person who wishes to appeal a decision related to a service animal should pursue resolution through the appropriate complaint resolution procedures (see Complaint Resolution Policy).
Relevant Laws and Other Resources
- Bellevue College Policy #6520 Animals on Campus
Revisions 8/31/2010; 9/24/2012; 7/22/2014
Last Updated January 19, 2021