SERVICE AND ASSISTANCE ANIMALS IN CAMPUS HOUSING
The College abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHAct), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in regards to allowing service and assistance animals in campus housing.
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) amendments include a narrow definition of service animals which excludes emotional support animals. The FHAct and Section 504 allow emotional support (assistance) animals as a reasonable accommodation.
Applicability of the policy
The College abides by both policies although the applicability of FHAct to our housing is in question. Until such time that our housing has been excluded from the FHAct and Section 504, we will follow those policies in addition to those of ADA.
The ADA regulations have been amended recently and it is necessary to have our policies and procedures up to date.
The ADA defines a service animal as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. 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. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. “(ADA 2010 Revised Requirements, US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section).
A request to have a service animal is not handled as a request for reasonable accommodation; no test or analysis is applied to the use of a service animal. The service animal must be allowed to accompany the individual where she/he is normally allowed to go.
Under FHAct and Section 504, individuals with disabilities may request an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation. In order to qualify, the animal must be necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or to participate in the housing service or program. Further, there must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. If the requirements are met, the housing facility must permit the use of the assistance animal unless it can demonstrate that doing so would impose an undue financial or administrative burden or would fundamentally alter the housing program.
The procedures are spelled out in the form, “Procedures for Requesting a Service or Assistance Animal in Campus Housing.”
The forms are available in the Office of Residential and Community Life, http://www.oneonta.edu/development/reslife/housing.asp at the Office of Students With Disabilities, http://www.oneonta.edu/development/sds/handbook.asp.
For information, contact the Office of Student Development, 119 Netzer Administration Building, 607-436-2513.
Approved by the President on March 28, 2012