The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that students with disabilities who have service animals can participate in and benefit from district services, programs and activities, and to ensure that the district does not discriminate on the basis of disability as identified in Titles I and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Definition of Service Animal
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog (or miniature horse) that is individually trained to respond to an individual's needs and to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. An animal that is used to provide only an emotionally supportive therapeutic service for a student does not meet the definition of a Service Animal.
Definition of Emotional Support/Comfort Animal
Any animal used as part of a medical treatment plan to provide companionship and help with issues such as depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist an individual
Use of Service Animal on Campus
Western encourages, but does not require, students to make themselves known to the college through Disability Services should they desire to have a service animal accompany them in academic classes, activities, or services on campus.
If a student plans to have their service animal live with them in the residence hall or is requesting use of an emotional support animal, you must provide notice to Disability Services and complete the required accommodation request for on-campus housing.
Employee requests to have a service animal at work, shall be coordinated through the Director of Human Resources.
Service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public. Specific questions related to the use of service animals on the campus by visitors can be directed to Disability Services.
There are certain areas that may be considered unsafe for the service dog and its handler, or where the presence of an animal might interfere with the safety of others, such as, but not limited to, chemistry labs, industrial labs, or surgical suites. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis with consultation to Disability Services. If it is determined that an area is unsafe, reasonable accommodations will be provided to assure equal access to the student.
Responsibilities of Handlers of Permitted Animals:
- The handler must be able to provide proof of current rabies vaccinations.
- The service animal is in a harness or on a leash at all times.
- The service animal is under control at all times.
- The supervision of the service animal is the responsibility of its handler.
- Regular bathing of the service animal is expected to avoid odor and shedding.
- The service animal must be toilet trained; the handler is responsible for the cleanup of animal waste.
- The handler must use appropriate toilet areas for the service animal.
- The handler is financially responsible for any property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury caused by the service animal
Determination of Service Animal
In order to protect both the privacy and dignity of the individual with a disability, the ADA restricts what employees and/or the institution can ask of an individual who wishes to access an area with a service animal.
Employees may ask only two questions (These are the only two questions that may legally be asked; other questions infringe on the individual's right to privacy):
- Is the service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
What an employee may NOT ask a handler?
- Anything about the individual's disability.
- To require medical documentation to support the need for the animal.
- To require documentation that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed.
- That the animal demonstrates its ability to perform its work and/or task.
- Allergies and fear of dogs are not considered valid reasons under the ADA 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 a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
- The Department of Justice explicitly rejects the idea that service dogs can be restricted by state and local governments based on breed. No county or city ordinance on breed restrictions supersedes the ADA.
- Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
- It is allowable for a person with a disability to train his/her own dog, but this does not extend to professionals who are training dogs with respect to gaining access to public places.
- Under what circumstances can a service animal be asked to leave or not allowed participation on campus?
- If a service animal is found to be disruptive in the classroom;
- If a service animal shows aggression towards their handler or other members of campus or the community;
- If a service animal is physically ill;
- If the service animal is unreasonably dirty;
- Any place on campus where the presence of a service animal causes danger to the safety of the handler or other students/member of campus; or
- Any place on campus where a service animal's safety is compromised.
Appeals or Grievances
Anyone who believes the College did not follow the established procedure regarding animals on campus or discriminated against him or her in denying an animal on campus, may file an appeal/grievance with the College. For students or visitors, grievances can be filed online at https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?WesternTC&layout_id=1. For employees, grievances can be filed using the Complaint Process Resolution Form found on WIRE.