Service Animals

Generally, Utah State University permits service animals to accompany their handler in any buildings or public space where their handler is permitted. A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work must be active and specifically related to the person’s disability. Simply providing comfort or emotional support does not qualify a dog as a service animal.

Other animals, including emotional support animals, are not permitted in USU buildings or facilities without the express permission of the organization responsible for that particular building.

Inquiries by USU Staff

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, USU personnel may ask two questions:

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

Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. If there is any doubt that an animal is a service animal, University personnel should obtain the owner's contact information, admit the animal, and then consult with the Disability Resource Center regarding future access.

Service Animal Handlers Responsibilities

Service animal handlers are responsible for ensuring the proper care, maintenance, and behavior of their service animal. In particular, service animal handlers are responsible for the following:

  • Maintaining Control: Service animals should be under the control of their handler at all times and on a leash or harness unless the owner is unable to use a leash due to a disability or the use of the leash would interfere with the animal’s ability to perform its duties.
  • Ensuring Proper Behavior: Animals are held to the same basic standard of conduct as their handlers. Service animals may not disturb or disrupt normal academic or administrative functions.
  • Cleaning up: Handlers must properly dispose of the service animal's waste or other debris.
  • Providing Care: The cost of care, arrangements, and responsibilities for the well-being of a service animal are the sole responsibility of the handler at all times.

Removal of Service Animals

Service Animal owners may be asked to remove their service animal from the University for the following reasons:

  • Out of Control: A handler may be directed to remove an animal if it is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it. If the out of control behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal into University facilities until the handler can demonstrate that s/he has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior.
  • Not housebroken: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is not housebroken.
  • Direct Threat: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that USU determines to be a substantial and direct threat to the health and safety of individuals. This may occur as a result of an animal exhibiting aggressive behavior, a substantial lack of cleanliness of the animal, or the presence of an animal in a sensitive area like a sterile medical treatment room, certain laboratories, or mechanical or industrial areas.
  • Illness: Any animal with signs of illness, including but not limited to a known zoonotic disease (a disease of animals, such as rabies or psittacosis, that can be transmitted to humans), severe diarrhea, severe vomiting, fever or open sores should not be on campus until deemed non-infectious/contagious by the written statement of a licensed veterinarian.

Determinations regarding the removal of service animals will be made on a case-by-case basis. If a person is asked to remove their service animal, USU will work with the handler to determine reasonable alternative opportunities to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

Conflicting Disabilities

If substantial enough, some people may have allergic reactions to animals that qualify as disabilities. In meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities, USU will consider the needs of both persons to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Students requesting allergy accommodations should contact the Disability Resource Center.

Restricted Areas

Service animals may be restricted from university spaces if the animal’s presence would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity provided in the space. These spaces may include sterile environments, areas requiring protective equipment or clothing for access, and areas with live animals that are the natural prey or natural predators of dogs. Service animal handlers who need to enter restricted spaces may work with the Disability Resource Center ((435) 797-2444 or to gain access.

Employees with Service Animals

Employees seeking to have a service animal accompany them while working at USU should contact the ADA Coordinator in Human Resources.

Appeals and Grievances

Any person dissatisfied by a decision or action concerning a service animal may appeal by contacting the Disability Resource Center.