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Service Animals vs Emotional Support Animals

Snow College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities and fulfilling obligations under State and Federal law. This Policy governs the use of assistance animals on campus by persons with disabilities.

Emotional Service Animals

Emotional Service Animal

Emotional Support Animal (other than service animals)

The college recognizes the broader category of “Assistance Animals” under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that provide physical and/or emotional support to individuals with disabilities. “Assistance Animals” are defined as a category of animals that may work, provide assistance, or perform physical tasks for an individual with a disability and/or provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

A person may reside with an Assistance Animal in housing as a reasonable accommodation if:

  1. The person has a disability.
  2. The animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; and
  3. There is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

The Emotional Support Animal (ESA) must be contained within the resident’s privately assigned individual living quarters (room, suite, apartment) except to the extent the resident is taking the animal out for natural relief. When the ESA is outside the resident’s private living quarters, the animal must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness. The ESA is not permitted in other areas of the college (e.g., other residence halls or apartment buildings, dining facilities, academic buildings, athletic buildings and facilities, classrooms, labs, libraries, etc.).

Emotional Support animals are encouraged to be at least 12 months of age.

A resident desiring use of an assistance animal in college housing must identify and register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) in advance, at least 45 days before housing for the animal is needed, and provide the following documentation:
  1. Treating professional completes the Emotional Support Animal Documentation form
  2. College resident completes the Emotional Support Request Form
    • The college reserves the right to request additional clarification or documentation to substantiate a disability and/or need for the accommodation.
    • The ODS will validate the need for approved accommodations and work with the resident and campus officials to facilitate a supportive network.
    • The college reserves the right to request additional clarification or documentation to ensure the animal is suitable for college housing. This may include but not be limited to situations that involve animals under 12 months of age, animals that are considered unique (i.e. not a cat or dog), or animals that are suspected of being a health or safety risk to others.
      • For unique animals (i.e. not a cat or dog), the individual has the substantial burden of demonstrating a disability-related therapeutic need for the specific animal or the specific type of animal. Residents with unique animals should also be prepared to provide the following additional information from their treating professional:
        • The date of the last consultation with the individual
        • Any unique circumstances justifying the individual’s need for the particular animal (if already owned or identified by the individual) or particular type of animal, and
        • Whether the treating professional has reliable information about the animal or whether they specifically recommended this type of animal.
      • The college may deny a request for an Emotional Support Animal in housing if the presence of the animal:
        • Poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others;
        • Would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others;
        • Would pose an undue financial and administrative burden; or
        • Would fundamentally alter the nature of housing operations
      • The college considers the following factors in determining whether the Emotional Support Animal is suitable for college housing:
        • Whether the animal’s presence would otherwise violate individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment of their dwelling.
        • Whether the animal is housebroken and able to live with others in a reasonable manner.
        • Whether the animal’s vaccinations are up to date.
        • Whether the animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others, such as injuring or acting aggressively.
        • Whether the animal is likely to cause or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear.
  3. Once an emotional support animal has been approved by the ODS, the resident must meet with their assigned Residence Life Director (or designee) to discuss guidelines for residing in college housing with an animal.
    • During this meeting, the resident and Residence Life Director will complete the ODS Animal Checklist.

This checklist must be completed before the animal can be brought into college housing.

Service Animals

Service Dog

Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Service Animal

The college recognizes “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Pursuant to that law, a service animal is defined as any dog 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.

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained, or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

Service animals on campus must comply with all state and local licensure and vaccination requirements.

The care and supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the individual who uses the animal’s service. The individual must always maintain control of the animal. The individual using the animal’s service is responsible for ensuring the cleanup of all animal waste and for any damage caused by the animal. College officials and staff may designate animal toileting areas.

The college 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 research. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the Office of Disability Services (ODS). In making its decision, ODS will consult with the appropriate department regarding the nature of the restricted area.

Service dogs in training are permitted on campus in all public facilities on the same basis as working service animals (see Section above), provided that the dog is being led or accompanied by a trainer for the purpose of training the dog and the trainer has documentation confirming the trainer is affiliated with a recognized or certified service dog training organization.

Only adult dogs (twelve months of age or older) are considered service dogs in training under college policy. “Puppies in training” are not permitted in college buildings.

Service dogs in training are not permitted in classrooms, offices, or other areas of campus buildings not open to the general public.

A student with a disability who wishes to utilize a service dog in training in college housing, classrooms, offices, or other areas of campus buildings not open to the general public must register with ODS and seek approval through the reasonable accommodation process.

A service animal may be removed from college facilities or grounds if disruptive (e.g., barking, wandering, displaying aggressive behavior) and the behavior is outside the duties of the service animal. Ill, unhygienic, and/or unsanitary service animals are not permitted in public campus areas. The individual responsible for such an animal may be required to remove the animal.

Policy Statement

The College provides reasonable accommodations to housing residents with a documented disability. This Policy governs the use of Assistance Animals in College Housing. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) identifies two types of assistance animals: (1) service animals, and (2) other trained or untrained animals that do work, perform tasks, provide assistance, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities.

ESA Application