Service Animal Guidelines

Animals are not permitted on College property or at any other location where the College offers courses or sponsors events, except that service animals may be used by individuals with documented disabilities who require this assistance, and support animals may be present in College housing, as described below, to support residential students with documented disabilities who have been approved for this form of accommodation.  Support animals are not permitted outside of College residence halls.

The College has established this guideline to foster the orderly operation of the College, the safety and well-being of students, employees and visitors, and compliance with applicable laws related to the accommodation of persons with disabilities.

This guideline applies to all College employees, students, and visitors.

• Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Public Law 101-336
• Policy I3:  Americans with Disabilities Act and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Policy
• Disability Accommodation Form
• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112
• Policy A10:  Requests for Accommodation of Disabilities by Applicants, Students and the Public under the ADA and Section 504 and Grievance Procedure
• Roommate/Suitemate Acknowledgement Form
• Office of Residence Life Accommodation Request Form

Contacts

Office of Accessibility Director    315-498-2245 [email protected]

Definitions

Disability:  defined as a physical or mental condition or impairment that is medically recognizable and diagnosable, and substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities.  These limitations may include performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.  A person is substantially limited in major life activities if the individual is unable to perform the activity, or is significantly restricted as to the manner in which he or she can perform that activity when compared to the average person.  Acceptable documentation of a disability can be from either a licensed medical or mental health provider.  It should verify the disability as well as describe the need for a Service or Support animal.

Service Animal: an animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.  Service animals are allowed by law in all areas, except food preparation areas outside a student’s assigned residential unit.  

Only two questions are permitted:

  1. Is the dog required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task is the dog able to perform?

Service dogs should not be petted while working.  Inquiries should not be made about the person’s disability.

Support Animal:  an animal that is prescribed or otherwise documented by a healthcare or mental health professional as treatment for a disabled individual and that is beneficial in alleviating one or more identifiable symptoms or effects of that individual's disability.   Approved support animals are only permitted within the owner's on-campus housing assignment. Animals that carry salmonella will not be approved due to safety risks presented to others.

Procedures

A. Employees seeking to bring a service animal onto College property as an accommodation of a disability must submit appropriate documentation of their disability and recommended accommodation(s) to the Office of Human Resources as described in Policy I3 Americans with Disabilities Act and Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Policy.

B. Student seeking to bring a service animal onto College property or support animal into the College’s residence halls as an accommodation of a disability must submit appropriate documentation of their disability and recommended accommodation(s) to the Office of Accessibility Resources as described in Policy A10 Requests for Accommodation of Disabilities by Applicants, Students and the Public under the ADA and Section 504 and Grievance Procedures.  All requests for accommodations are subject to final approval by the Associate Vice President, Student Engagement & Learning Support.

C. Students seeking to bring a support animal into the College housing must observe the following additional procedures:

1. All requests for approval of a support animal in College housing are considered on a case-by-case basis and require current documentation as outlined in this guideline. While requests made after the stated primary consideration date will be accepted and considered, there is no guarantee that late requests, including any needs that develop during the semester, can be accommodated.

For fall semester primary consideration is given to requests received by June 30.
For spring semester primary consideration is given to requests received by October 30.

Approvals extend from fall semester through spring semester in each academic year; there is no need to resubmit a request each semester.  However, requests must be resubmitted with appropriate documentation in a new academic year.

2. Requests for a support animal in College housing require complete documentation to be submitted prior to review.   Documentation of the need for the support animal should follow the guidelines for documentation of a disability, and should include the following information:

a. Letter and contact information of the Physician/Doctor or other qualified professional who is treating you that states the need for the Support Animal.  Do not certify your animal via any service online.  These services are expensive and do not provide the necessary documentation.
b. Diagnostic statement identifying the disability;
c. Description of your current functional limitations;
d. Description of the expected progression or stability of the disability;
e. Statement of how the support animal serves as an accommodation for the verified disability.
3. Complete the Office of Residence Life Accommodation Request Form found on both the Residence Life Application site and the OAR website.

Conflicting Needs/Health Concerns

OAR and Residence Life will make a reasonable effort to notify residents in the building where a service or support animal will be located about the animal's presence. Student residents who have medical issues and are affected by animals (e.g., asthma, severe allergies) should contact Residence Life.  The student may be required to provide verifiable medical documentation to support such claim.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to reflect the needs of both persons and to resolve the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Damages

If a service or support animal damages the assigned residence hall room or other College property, the cost of the damage will be assessed and assigned to the student's account. The owner is responsible for insuring cleanliness and proper care and treatment of the animal and its environment.

Responsibilities of Students Using Service or Support Animals in Campus Housing

  1. Students with disabilities who utilize a service or support animal at the College must request accommodations annually from OAR and keep their scheduled appointments. Students who live on campus must complete the appropriate housing request process in addition to the request for accommodation for a service or support animal as described in this guideline.
  2. The student is responsible for assuring that the service or support animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for other students who reside there.
  3. The student must furnish at the time the accommodation is requested an acceptable health statement for the service or support animal, including vaccination record, from a licensed veterinarian dated within the past year.  Proof of good health must be provided on an annual basis.  The animal must be spayed or neutered.
  4. The service or support animal must meet all New York State legal requirements, including licensure requirements, at the time accommodations are requested and throughout its presence at the College. Proof of such license must be provided to OAR. Note:  New York law requires that every dog be licensed, but service dogs are exempt from the license fee.
  5. The student is responsible for any damage caused by the service or support animal and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The cost of care for the well-being of the service or support animal is the sole responsibility of the student.
  6. For students with roommates: All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an acknowledgment that the service or support animal will be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates lodge a valid complaint about the behavior of the service or support animal, the owner and animal may be relocated, or the animal may be removed in the sole discretion of the College.
  7. The animal must be well groomed and measures taken at all times for flea and odor control. The residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks and other pests once a semester at the discretion of Residence Life. If necessary, College-approved pest control services will be utilized, and the student will be billed for the expense of any necessary pest treatment.
  8. Service animals only may travel with their owner throughout the campus, except into food preparation areas located outside a student’s assigned residential unit.  Support animals must be contained within the owner's assigned room at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area en route off campus in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. Campus Safety will be given information about approved service and support animals on campus in the event of an emergency.
  9. Service or support animals are not to be left alone overnight in College housing or left to be cared for by another student/individual. If the owner leaves the campus for a prolonged period of time, the animal must be taken with him or her.
  10. The College reserves the right to place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animal depending upon the nature and characteristics of the animal.   Questions or concerns should be directed to OAR.
  11. The student is responsible for removal and proper disposal of the animal's waste. Waste removal must be immediate. The animal's waste must be removed into a proper receptacle located outside the residence hall.  If an animal urinates or defecates inside a building or in another area that requires cleaning or maintenance by the College, the owner must notify staff and will be responsible for the cost of such cleaning. If the student cannot clean up after the animal, he or she will need to hire someone to assist as the College does not provide this service.
  12. If visitors come into the room the student is responsible for alerting them to the animal’s presence in case of allergies or other concerns.
  13. The service or support animal must be under the control of the student at all times.  Reasonable behavior is expected from service or support animals while on campus.  If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ appropriate training techniques to correct the situation. The animal shall have a harness, leash or other tether unless the owner is unable to use such devices or they interfere with the safe performance of the animal's work or tasks. Service animals are prohibited from food preparation areas, unless this is a kitchen within the owner's assigned residence space.
  14. If a service or support animal is determined to be a nuisance, out of control, or a threat to the safety of students or staff, the infraction will be addressed on an individual basis. The owner is fully responsible for the actions of the service or support animal, consistent with the Student Code of Conduct. Consequences for misconduct may include, but are not limited to, a plan for correction of disruption (e.g. muzzling a barking dog), refresher training for the animal and student, or exclusion from College facilities.
  15. Should the service or support animal be removed from College housing for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill her or his housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

Removal of Approved Animals

The owner may be directed to remove an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, jumping on people).  If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the animal into College facilities or events until the owner can demonstrate appropriate steps taken to mitigate such behavior.  Any animal that exhibits aggressive or unsafe behavior may be prohibited from College facilities or events. Any violation of this guideline may result in immediate removal of the animal from the College, pending disciplinary action. The College may remove an authorized animal when the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, the animal's presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College's program, the owner does not comply with the responsibilities outlined in this guideline, or the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the community.

Grievance Procedures

If the decision is made to deny a request or remove a service or support animal, the owner may appeal in writing to the College compliance officer.