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Animals for Disability-Related Needs

This policy statement provides information to individuals using animals to assist with disability related needs at Elizabethtown College. The use of animals on campus falls into two categories: service animals and assistance animals:

Service Animals

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Elizabethtown College seeks to accommodate persons with disabilities requiring the assistance of a qualified service animal. We encourage individuals with service animals to share this information with the Office of Disability Services.

Service Animal

Under the ADA, a public accommodation shall modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of service animals by an individual with a disability. The ADA defines a service animal as a dog individually trained to 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 trained or untrained, are not considered services animals (with the exception of miniature horses). The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples include but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting during a seizure, alerting to the presence of allergens, and preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Inquiries Regarding Service Animals:

If not readily apparent, Elizabethtown College is able to make the following inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

  • Is the animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?
Responsibilities of the Student with the Service Animal:

The service animal must be under the control of its handler. A harness, leash, or other tether must be used unless the handler is unable because of the disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or if the use of a harness, leash, or other tether interferes with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of the work or task.   In such cases, the service animal must remain under the student’s control, such as voice control.

The student must provide care and supervision of the service animal. Elizabethtown College is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision. All students are responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal's feces while on campus.

Service animals must not be placed in a location blocking access for others.

It is the handler's responsibility to ensure that the service animal is in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks, and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations.

Exceptions:

Elizabethtown College may ask a student with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the student does not take effective action to control it, if the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by reasonable modifications to other policies, practices, and procedures (must be an individualized assessment), or if the animal is not housebroken. If Elizabethtown College properly excludes a service animal, it must give the student the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on college property.

Grievance Procedures:

Students who wish to appeal a denied request for use of a service animal may file a grievance utilizing the College’s Grievance Procedure .

Assistance Animals

Assistance animals are only permitted in College owned/managed housing and areas surrounding residential units in which the student resides, such as outdoor common areas. The student is not permitted to take the assistance animal to another housing unit or other area of campus. Before you make a commitment to bring an assistance animal on campus, you should carefully consider how the animal will be cared for when you are attending classes and other events where the animal will not be permitted.

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Elizabethtown College seeks to accommodate persons with disabilities requiring an assistance animal in College housing. Students should make requests regarding assistance animals in residential units to the Office of Disability Services at least 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which the request is being made. Determinations will be made on a case by case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, as to whether the student qualifies as an individual with a disability and whether the particular animal represents a reasonable accommodation on campus required to enable the student to live on campus.

The FHA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide for a broad range of assistance animals in College housing. The College will make a determination regarding the use of an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation on a case-by-case basis. Students requesting an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation for a disability related need will be required to submit documentation to the Office of Disability Services on the letterhead of the treating health care provider with the following information:

  • Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability – i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities? Explain in detail with supporting diagnostic information.
  • Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal provide support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person’s existing disability the absence of which would prevent the student from      living on campus? In answering this question, is there no other accommodation that would adequately address the student’s disability-related need?
Responsibilities of the Student with the Assistance Animal

The student is responsible for the care and supervision of the assistance animal. The College is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision. The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal's feces while on campus. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the animal is animal is in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks, and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations.

Exceptions:

Elizabethtown College may ask an individual with a disability to remove an assistance animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal presents a legitimate safety risk to the unit (e.g., a dog is not housebroken). Elizabethtown College may deny a request for an assistance animal if allowing the animal would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the College or would fundamentally alter the nature of the housing providers services, if the specific assistance animal in question poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation, or if the specific assistance animal would cause physical damage to the property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation. Additionally, the animal cannot cause a disruption to the learning/living environment of other students.

Grievance Procedures:

Students who wish to appeal a denied request for use of an assistance animal may file a grievance utilizing the College’s Grievance Procedure .

 

 

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