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Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities." 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, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program.

The ADA allows service animals accompanying persons with disabilities to be on the Colorado College campus. A service animal must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability everywhere on campus except in situations where safety may be compromised or where the service animal may interfere with the fundamental nature of the activities being conducted.

The person a service animal assists is referred to as a partner. The partner’s disability may not be visible. If you are not sure whether an animal is a pet or a service animal, you may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Others, including faculty and staff, cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

A service dog can be any breed or size. It might wear specialized equipment such as a backpack, harness, or special collar or leash, but this is not a legal requirement.

Faculty, staff, and students should know the following about service animals:

  • Allow a service animal to accompany the partner at all times and everywhere on campus, except where service animals are specifically prohibited. The courts have upheld the rights of service animal owners to take service animals into food service locations.
  • Do not pet a service animal without first asking permission; touching the animal might distract it from its work.
  • Speak first to the partner.
  • Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
  • Do not feed a service animal.
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate a partner from his or her service animal.
  • In case of an emergency, every effort should be made to keep the animal with its partner.

The following are requirements of service animals and their partners:

  • The animal cannot pose a direct threat to the health and safety of persons on the college campus.
  • Local ordinances regarding animals apply to service animals, including requirements for immunization, licensing, noise, restraint, at-large animals, and dangerous animals. Dogs must wear a license tag and a current rabies vaccination tag.
  • The partner must be in full control of the animal at all times. 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 partner is responsible for cleaning up the animal’s feces. The partner should always carry equipment and bags sufficient to clean up and properly dispose of the animal’s feces. Partners who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of feces are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance. The College is not responsible for these services.
  • In keeping with appropriate college policies and procedures, the partner may be charged for damage caused by the partner or the service animal.
  • Disability Services and Residential Life and Housing must be consulted if a student with a disability plans to be accompanied by a service animal in campus housing.

For additional information concerning the use of a service animal or other accommodations and services, please contact Disability Services.

Emotional Support Animals

Students seeking permission to have an emotional support animal, that is not also a service animal, in their residence are required to register with Disability Services. Please contact Disability Services or Residential Life and Housing for information on the College’s Emotional Support Animal Guidelines.