Service Animals: Policy

(Created by the Learning Center and approved by the Dean of Students, April 2011; updated July 2015)

Purpose

As per the Biola University Housing Handbook, all pets (other than fish, under 20 gal tank) are prohibited in the university residence halls. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals will not be restricted from Biola university facilities and events. Support animals/therapy pets, while potentially allowed on campus, are subject to different regulations and restrictions.

Definitions

A. Service Animal:

“Any dog that is individually trained to do 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 wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability.” (28 CFR § 36.104, ADA regulations)

B. Support/Therapy/Comfort Animals:

Animals that individuals with disabilities might utilize for support or assistance, but which do not meet the ADA criteria for Service Animals. Types of support animals might include emotional/social anxiety support animals. Support animals are not Service Animals.

C. Handler/Requesting Individual/Partner:

The individual with a disability who utilizes a service or support animal as an accommodation.

D. Individual with a Disability:

An individual with a disability is a person who:
1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or…
2. has a record of such an impairment or…
3. is regarded as having such an impairment (ADA definition).

Detailed Policy Statement

A. Types of Service Animals Permitted on Campus.

These guidelines have been developed with the understanding that all service animals working on the university campus will be dogs. (For policy regarding “support animals” that do not meet the definition of “service animal”—e.g. emotional support animals, therapy animals, seizure response animals— please see Section III.D. of this document).

“Examples of work or tasks 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, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.”

“The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” (28 CFR § 36.104, ADA regulations)

B. Responsibilities of Persons with Disabilities Using Service or Support Animals on Campus

Students, faculty and staff with disabilities, including regular visitors, who utilize service or support animals on campus grounds, must complete a Biola University Animal Registration Form. (Note: support animals must receive prior approval before being brought onto campus; see Section III.D.).

Current and prospective students will work with The Learning Center (located upstairs in the Biola University library). Staff and faculty are encouraged to contact the Human Resources Office. For use of a service or support animal by a resident or potential resident in University Housing, see Section III.C and D. of this document.

Handlers are responsible for any damage caused by their animals and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The cost of care, arrangements and responsibilities for the well-being of a service or support animal are the sole responsibility of the handler at all times. Service and support animals on campus must:

1. Meet Legal Requirements: All requirements for the presence of animals in public places (vaccinations, licensure, ID tags, etc) mandated by State or local ordinances must be followed, including but not limited to:
a. Los Angeles County Animal Services Dog License, updated yearly.
b. If the animal is intact (not spayed or neutered), a Los Angeles County Animal Services Unaltered Animal Certificate, updated yearly.

2. Be under Control of handler: “A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).” (§ 36.302, ADA regulations)

3. Adhere to Cleanup Rule: The handler must follow local cleanup ordinances when the animal defecates. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animal may not be required to pick up and dispose of feces.

C. Service Animals in University Housing.

Procedures for Approval of Service Animals in University Housing:

1. Incoming residents must submit notice to have service animals in University Housing with their initial housing application. Existing residents must submit notice at least six weeks prior to the date the animal is expected to be in residence.

To give notice, contact the appropriate office: Students and regular visitors contact The Learning Center. Staff and faculty contact Human Resources.

The documentation required must include completion of Service Animal Registration form. Includes list of tasks or functions the animal has been trained to perform as a disability-related accommodation, the type of animal, a description of the animal (e.g. weight, breed, etc.) and the animal’s name.

2. The following departments will be privy to your notice: The Learning Center, Residence Life, Housing and Auxiliary Services.

3. The handler must:
a. Follow all sections of this Biola University Service Animal Policy
b. Register the animal with The Learning Center before move-in is allowed.
c. Sign and submit to University Housing the Guidelines for Maintaining a Service or Support Animal in University Housing. Form available through The Learning Center and Housing offices.

D. Support Animals/Therapy Pets

Support Animals, as defined in Section II. Definitions, may be permitted on the Biola University campus on a case-by-case basis. Before bringing a support animal onto campus grounds, the requesting individual must submit appropriate documentation. Requests to have a support animal on campus will be evaluated by the appropriate office.

Procedures for requesting permission for a support animal:

1. To make a request, contact the appropriate office: Students and regular visitors contact The Learning Center. Staff and faculty contact Human Resources. Documentation required must include:
a. A letter with the handler’s explanation of the need for the animal, the type of animal, a description of the animal and the animal’s name, the date when medical diagnosis prescribed such an animal, the date when the animal was acquired and the areas of campus where the support animal is needed.
b. Medical documentation that meets the Biola University documentation guidelines as maintained by The Learning Center - specifically, the section of the guidelines that lists the key elements of documentation. Copies of these guidelines are available on The Learning Center website and office. It is strongly advised that a copy of these guidelines be given to the treating clinician. Insufficient documentation that does not meet university requirements may result in delays or denial. Documentation must also include the clinician’s professional opinion regarding the need for a support animal as a reasonable accommodation for the specific disability of the requesting person.
c. If applicable, requesting individuals should explain in their letter why the support animal is needed in non-residence campus facilities or on the campus grounds at large.
d. Evidence of animal’s suitability as a support/therapy animal.
e. Completion of Support/Therapy Animal Registration form. Includes the type of animal, a description of the animal (e.g. weight, breed, etc.) and the animal’s name.
Housing: Requests for support animals in University Housing will be processed per Section III.C. of this document. Permission to have a support animal in University Housing does not mean permission to have the support animal in other campus facilities or on campus grounds at large.

2. The Learning Center will notify the requesting individual in writing of the decision within ten business days of the date all required documentation is received. If the request to have a support animal on-campus is approved, the handler is expected to abide by all sections of this Biola University Service Animal Policy.

E. Areas Off Limits to Service and Support Animals

The university must allow a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability at all times and everywhere on campus except where service animals are specifically prohibited. Support animals are allowed only in pre-approved areas of campus as established in Section III.D. The following areas are generally off limits to service and support animals:

Research and Teaching Laboratories (or other Research Facilities): Natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the outcome of research. At the same time, chemicals and/or organisms used in research may be harmful to service and support animals.

Mechanical Rooms/Custodial Closets: Mechanical rooms, such as boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, electric closets, elevator control rooms and custodial closets, are off-limits to service animals. The machinery and/or chemicals in these rooms may be harmful to animals.

Areas Where Protective Clothing is Necessary: Any room where protective gear or clothing is worn is off-limits to service and support animals.

Areas Where There is a Danger to the Service Animal: Any room, including a classroom, where there are sharp metal cuttings or other sharp objects on the floor or protruding from a surface; where there is hot material on the floor (e.g. molten metal or glass); where there is a high level of dust; where there are harmful chemicals or materials; or where there is moving machinery is off-limits to service and support animals.

Exceptions to Off-Limits Areas: Exceptions to off-limits areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis in consultation with The Learning Center and lab director (per department procedure), and the individual with a disability. The final decision shall be made based on the nature of research or machinery and the best interest of the animal. Example: The machinery in a classroom may have moving parts at a height such that the tail of a large dog could easily be caught; this is a valid reason for restricting access for a large dog. However, a very small hearing dog may be shorter than any moving part and, therefore, considered for admission to the classroom.

F. Removal/Relocation of Service and Support Animals

Service and Support Animals may be ordered removed for the following reasons:

Community Impact: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, running around, bringing attention to itself, jumping up on people), or has not been properly housebroken. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal into any university facility until the handler can demonstrate that s/he has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Any animal that exhibits aggressive or unsafe behavior may be prohibited from University facilities. In addition, any animal that is not properly housed/restrained will be subject to removal. (28 CFR § 36.104, ADA regulations)

Ill health: Animals who are ill should not be taken into public areas. A handler with an ill animal may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities.

Uncleanliness: Handlers must ensure that their animals are kept clean and well-groomed. handlers with animals that are excessively unclean (e.g., flea infested, foul-smelling and/or shedding excessively) may be asked to leave university facilities.

Service and Support Animals and handlers may be relocated to a different university housing facility or an alternate office location when the presence of an animal conflicts with another resident’s or co-worker’s disability (e.g. severe allergies, phobias, etc).

G. Grievance Procedures

A decision may be appealed, in writing, within 15 business days of the date of the decision letter. Please see Grievance Procedure as published in The Learning Center Handbook (see Learning Center website). Appeals must state a specific reason for reconsideration. Decisions on appeal shall be final.

Students: Written appeals must be submitted to the Executive Dean of Students.

Staff and Faculty: Written appeals must be submitted to the Director of Human Resources

IV. Getting Help

If you need help...

Contact

...requesting a service or support animal in university owned housing, or to have a support animal on campus grounds (outside of housing), and you are a student.

The Learning Center 562.906.4542 Website

. . . requesting a service or support animal in university owned housing, and you are faculty or staff, and it is a condition of employment to live in university housing.

Human Resources 562.903.4757
Website

. . . requesting a support animal on campus grounds (outside of housing), and you are faculty or staff.

The Learning Center 562.906.4542 Website

. . . requesting a support animal on campus grounds, and you are a regular visitor.

The Learning Center 562.906.4542 Website

...obtaining a Los Angeles County Animal Registration/Pet Form, or have questions about vaccination, licensure and ID tag requirements.

LA County Animal Care Website

...reporting an unruly or unlicensed service or support animal on campus.

Campus Safety 562.903.4877 Email: campus.safety@biola.edu or
Residence Life 562.903.5842

...with general university housing information.

Biola University Housing Office 562.903-5838 Website

V. Applicability and Authority

This Biola University Service Animal Policy applies to all university owned structures without exception. For non-disability related animals on campus, please refer to Employee Handbook, Section 3.17 Pets on Campus and Student Housing Handbook, Section 6 Possessions & Conduct: Pets.

The Learning Center is the campus authority for the Biola University Service Animal Policy. This policy was reviewed and approved by the Dean of Students, Danny Paschall on March 9, 2011.

References:
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
UC Santa Cruz Service Animal Policy (used by permission)

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