Policy No: 2010 Responsible Office: Student Affairs Last Review Date: 09/28/2023 Next Required Review: 09/28/2028
Service and Assistance Animals
The University of South Alabama (USA) is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities, and recognizes that some members of the USA community with disabilities may require the use of service or assistance animals while at USA. This policy serves to set forth guidelines concerning the appropriate use of and protocols associated with service animals and assistance animals. USA reserves the right to amend these guidelines as needed, with or without prior notice.
This policy applies to faculty, staff, students and visitors on all campuses of the University other than those of USA Health. Students who have questions about the use of a service or assistance animal should contact the Center for Educational Accessibility and Disability Resources (CEADR) at (251) 460-7212. Members of the USA community who are faculty and staff and have questions about the use of a service animal should contact USA Human Resources at (251) 460-6133.
• The work or task that a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the functional limitations of the person’s disability;
• Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals;
• An animal whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support does not qualify as a service animal.
4. Policy Guidelines
A service animal is allowed on campus in all areas of the University’s facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs, or activities, or invitees are allowed to go, such as academic buildings, libraries, and on-campus dining establishments. There may be areas of the USA campus where it is considered unsafe for an animal to be present or where the animal may need protective wear to be present, such as laboratories; the Director of Safety and Environmental Compliance may be consulted in making this determination. If an area is determined to be unsafe, reasonable accommodations should be provided to assure the student equal access to the activity taking place there.
While a student who requires the use of a service animal is not required to register the animal with the Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources, they are encouraged to do so in order for the University to be aware of the authorized presence of the service animal on campus.
4.2 Assistance Animals
Assistance animals are prescribed to an individual with a disability by a mental health professional. An assistance animal must be regarded as an integral part of a person’s treatment process to be considered for approval. Species other than dogs or domestic cats will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Animals that may pose an animal-to human infectious disease threat, such as monkeys, reptiles, and hedgehogs, will not be approved.
Assistance animals are not service animals and do not accompany an individual at all times. Assistance animals are only permitted in the individual’s assigned living space, and designated outdoor spaces, if appropriate, under proper handling of the owner. These animals are not allowed in any other campus buildings. Students living off campus should note that assistance animals ARE NOT allowed in campus buildings.
A pet is not considered a service or assistance animal. Individuals are not permitted to keep or bring pets into campus residence assignments or any other campus buildings.
A student who will be living in University Housing (residence hall or Central House on Stadium) and who is seeking to bring an assistance animal must make a formal request to CEADR for an accommodation on the basis of a qualifying disability. To make this formal request, the student must submit a completed application for accommodations which may be found on the CEADR website (www.southalabama.edu/sds). The request for an accommodation concerning an assistance animal and approval should be made prior to the date the student would like to bring the animal into campus housing.
Students bringing an assistance animal to live in University Housing or Central House on Stadium without prior approval may face disciplinary action and/or eviction.
The request for an assistance animal may be denied if proper documentation is not presented or if such an accommodation is deemed unreasonable. Examples of an unreasonable accommodation include one which presents an undue financial or administrative burden on the University; poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation; the animal in question would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation; or constitutes a fundamental alteration of the nature of the service or program. If a requesting student is denied a request for an assistance animal, the student may appeal the decision, in writing, to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (VPSA), within 5 business days. The decision of the VPSA is final. Requests for an assistance animal require complete documentation to be submitted before review and rendering of a decision and/or recommendation. Documentation must be dated within the last 12 months. Detailed documentation requirements are available on USA’s CEADR website at www.southalabama.edu/sds.
Documentation of the need for an assistance animal should follow the CEADR guidelines for documentation of a disability, and should include the following information:
• The credentials and contact information of the evaluator(s);
5.2 Owner Responsibilities for Service and Assistance Animals
The owner of the service/assistance animal is expected to accept the following responsibilities:
Students bringing approved assistance animals will be required to complete and sign an Assistance Animal Registration and Agreement with Housing. The form includes provisions related to the above policy to which the student must adhere in order to maintain the animal. Students bringing service animals are requested to register the animals so that the University will be aware of the authorized presence of the service animals on campus.
Students who are adversely affected by the presence of animals (i.e. respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact CEADR. Affected students may be eligible for an accommodation when living in proximity to a service/assistance animal. The CEADR Director and the Housing Director or Central House on Stadium General Manager will collaborate, as needed, to help resolve any conflicts related to a service/assistance animal.
All staff members will consider the needs and/or the appropriate accommodations of all residents involved. Students who do not wish to live with an assistance or service animal may be reassigned to a different room.
If an assistance animal owner is found to be in violation of the assistance animal agreement, then the assistance animal and/or the owner may be removed from University Housing or Central House on Stadium. Similarly, a service animal and/or the owner may be removed from campus if the service animal is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it, if the service animal is not housebroken, or if the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
5.4 Emergency Responders
USA Police Department officers will make every reasonable effort to keep the animal with its owner in the event of an emergency evacuation. However, the emergency responder’s first effort will be toward the student and this may necessitate leaving an animal behind in certain emergency evacuation situations.
While visitors may bring service animals to campus, they may not bring assistance animals. All visitors with service animals must adhere to the same service animal control, behavior and safety guidelines as students attending the University.
7. Related Documents