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University of Texas at Dallas
Student AccessAbility
800 W. Campbell Rd., SSB32
Richardson, TX 75080

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Policies and Procedures

Service Animals


Some individuals with disabilities utilize the services of trained animals to provide themselves with direct assistance in daily life. Service animals, often referred to as assistance animals, are permitted to accompany a person with a disability anywhere on campus.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as "any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders, or pulling a wheelchair and fetching dropped items."

Texas law parallels the Americans with Disabilities Act with rights and protections for assistance animals. Texas law provides that assistance animals must be trained by organizations that generally are recognized as reputable and competent by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of people with disabilities.

Requirements for service animals and their owners at The University of Texas at Dallas include:

  1. Dogs must be licensed in accordance with city regulations and wear a valid vaccination tag.
  2. Any other animals that are trained for service to a person with a disability must have vaccinations appropriate for that type of animal.
  3. Animals must be in good health.
  4. Any service animals occupying University housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.
  5. Animals must be on a leash at all times.
  6. The owner of the service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times.
  7. The owner is responsible for appropriate waste clean-up and overall cleanliness of the animal.

The service animal owner is responsible for the appropriate management of his or her animal in all University facilities. Disruptive and/or aggressive behavior on the part of the animal may result in the owner being asked to remove the animal from University facilities.   The ADA does not require services animals to be registered with the Office of Student AccessAbility or other agencies/organizations.  In situations where it is not obvious that the animal is a service animal, personnel may ask only two specific questions:

  1. Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Personnel are not permitted to request any documentation for the service animal, require that the service animal demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. A student with a disability who uses a service animal and who resides in campus-owned housing is required to alert Residential Life of the animal's status.

FAQs

What is a service animal?
Is an in-training service animal allowed in public places?
Does a service animal have to register with Disability Services or the ADA coordinator?
Does a service animal have to be on a leash?
When can service animals be excluded or removed?
What can University personnel ask to determine if an animal is a service animal?
What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
Is an emotional support animal (ESA) considered a service animal?
How many service animals do we have on campus?
Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
Can I approach or pet a service animal?
Is a service animal required to wear a service vest, patch or special harness identifying them as a service animal?
Is a service animal required to have vaccinations?
Where can I go for additional resources?



What is a service animal?
Under ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the animal must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Is an in-training service animal allowed in public places?
Yes, in-training service animals are afforded the same access as service animals. Texas law allows a trainer of a service animal accompanied by an animal for training purposes in public places and common transportation carriers.

Does a service animal have to register with Disability Services or the ADA coordinator?
Registration is not required. Texas law requires public facilities to admit a person with a disability accompanied by a service animal for assistance. The University may not require documentation such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a condition for entry.

Does a service animal have to be on a leash?
It depends. Service animals must be under control which means harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the device interferes with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents using the device. In that case, the individual must maintain control through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

When can service animals be excluded or removed?
Service animals are allowed in public facilities. If a particular service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded or asked to be removed from the premises and the handler may be subject to discipline. Also, if admitting service animals would fundamentally alter the nature of the service or program or there is a legitimate safety requirement, service animals may be prohibited.
Service animals may be excluded from certain areas where the animal's presence may compromise a sterile environment. In teaching labs where hazardous materials may harm a service animal, the TA or instructor should have an interactive conversation about the hazards with any student accompanied by a service animal.

If an animal is excluded, the individual with a disability is given the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

What can University personnel ask to determine if an animal is a service animal?
In situations where it is not obvious that the animal is a service animal, personnel may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the animal a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform?  Personnel are not allowed to request any documentation for the service animal, require that the service animal demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
The main purpose of an emotional support animal (ESA) is to provide emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship to their owners.  An ESA must be domesticated, and well-behaved. Their presence is generally limited to residential facilities including their common areas.

Is an emotional support animal (ESA) considered a service animal?
No. An emotional support animal is not a service animal and not afforded access to all public places. ESAs are afforded protections under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) only. Requests to possess an ESA in a residential facilities including their common areas must be approved by the Office of Student AccessAbility and University Housing. Students must present a letter from a doctor or professional licensed in Texas stating details about the patient’s needs, treatment, and how the animal is a vital part of that treatment. The ESA must also have all their immunizations records from their veterinarian. ESA registration from an outside organization is not recognized.

How many service animals do we have on campus?
There is no way to know how many service animals are on campus since, by law, registration of service animals cannot be required.

Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
No. Service animals can be trained by their owner or by another handler.  People with disabilities are not required to use a professional service animal training program.

Can I approach or pet a service animal?
It is best to ask the handler or trainer before you approach or pet any dog (or other service animal). It is against the law for a person to assault, harass, interfere with, kill, or injure in any way, a service animal. Actions as this may impede or interfere with, the animal's performance of its duties; or places a person with a disability who is using a service animal, or a trainer who is training a service animal, in danger of injury.

Is a service animal required to wear a service vest, patch or special harness identifying them as a service animal?
No. ADA and the State of Texas do not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.

Is a service animal required to have vaccinations?
Yes. Individuals with service animals are not exempt from local animal control or public health requirements.

Where can I go for additional resources?
Department of Justice FAQs at https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html 
Office of the Texas Governor at https://gov.texas.gov/organization/disabilities/assistance_animals

 

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