Guidelines for Service Dogs

Are service dogs allowed on campus and in the classrooms?

Yes. Service dogs are allowed on campus and in classrooms. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as “a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.”

When it is not obvious what service the dog provides, college officials may ask only two questions:

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

Students are welcome to register their service dogs with the DSS Office

May faculty/staff ask about the nature of the student’s disability?

No. It is illegal to ask a person to disclose what their disability is or the reason they have a service dog.

Are animals other than dogs recognized as service animals?

No. Under the law only dogs (or in some instances, miniature horses) are recognized as service animals.

What is considered work or tasks that the dog performs?

The work or tasks performed by a service dog must be directly related to the disability. Examples of such work include:

  • Guiding people who are blind 
  • Alerting people who are deaf
  • Reminding a person to take prescribed medication
  • Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Alerting a person when blood glucose levels are low

The work or task must be active not passive. 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.

What if a faculty/staff member or a student in class is allergic or afraid of dogs?

Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. It may be possible to accommodate by requesting students use different locations within the classroom or take a different section of the course.

Can a faculty/staff member ask for the service dog to be removed from the classroom?

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove the service dog from the premises unless:

  1. The dog is behaving in a disruptive manner by barking, growling, whimpering, running around, or soliciting social attention through behavior; or
  2. The dog is not housebroken or clean; or
  3. The presence of the dog poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other persons that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services

If faculty/staff has any of the above 3 concerns, they may request that the service dog (not the student) be removed from class. Refer the student to DSS for further guidance. Faculty/staff should contact DSS directly if they need support.

The student is responsible for:

  • Having a current dog license;
  • Having a rabies vaccination certificate for dogs licensed in Orange County;
  • Keeping the dog clean and pest free;
  • Keeping the service dog on a harness or on a leash unless either the student is unable because of a disability to use a harness or leash, or the use of a harness or leash would interfere with the service animal’s performance of work or tasks;
  • Any harm or injury caused by the animal to other students, staff, visitors, and/or property.