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.
Under Colorado state law HB16-1426 (effective January 2017), it is a crime to knowingly misrepresent an animal as a service animal. Misrepresenting an animal as a service animal can result in fines.
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 handler. The handler’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 handler 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 handler.
- Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
- Do not feed a service animal.
- Do not separate or attempt to separate a handler from his or her service animal.
- In case of an emergency, every effort should be made to keep the animal with its handler.
The following are requirements of service animals and their handlers:
- 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 handler 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 handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
- The handler is responsible for cleaning up the animal’s feces. The handler should always carry equipment and bags sufficient to clean up and properly dispose of the animal’s feces. Handlers 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 handler may be charged for damage caused by the handler or the service animal.
- A student with a disability planning to have a service animal in residence in campus housing should consult with Accessibility Resources.
Please contact Accessibility Resources if you have questions or concerns regarding service animals.
Emotional Support Animals
An emotional support animal is defined as an animal that is necessary to afford an individual with a mental health-related disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy housing. Students may not have emotional support animals in Colorado College housing without express approval from Accessibility Resources and Residential Life & Campus Activities.
Following are some of the things to keep in mind when considering to request to have an emotional support animal in campus housing.
Approved emotional support animals:
- are allowed in the student’s assigned housing space only and must be crated or caged when unattended in the student’s room
- are not permitted in common areas of students’ residence halls or in any other college buildings (e.g., libraries, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, Worner Campus Center)
- must be in an animal carrier or controlled by an appropriate harness or short leash when outside of the student’s room
- may not be left unattended in the student’s room for an unreasonable amount of time, as appropriate for the animal
- may not remain in campus housing if the student is to be absent from college housing overnight or longer
- may not be cared for on campus by any individual other than the student approved for the emotional support animal
A student may be required to remove an emotional support animal from campus if:
- there are violations of the student’s responsibilities that are outlined in the college’s emotional support animal guidelines, such as ensuring proper cleanup the the animal's waste (Note: Solid waste—including litter—must be placed in sturdy, securely tied bags before being disposed of in outside trash dumpsters.)
- the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others
- other situations arise that negatively impact the campus environment
Please contact Accessibility Resources for complete information on the college’s emotional support animal guidelines, including the process for requesting to have an emotional support animal in college housing and documenting that it is necessary.