Does a service animal have to be on a leash?
It depends. Service animals must be under control, which means harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the device interferes with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using the device. In that case, the individual must maintain control through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
When can service animals be excluded or removed?
Service animals are allowed in public facilities. If a particular service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded or asked to be removed from the premises. Service animals may be excluded from certain areas where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment. In teaching labs where hazardous materials may harm a service animal, the instructor of record should have an interactive conversation about the hazards with any student accompanied by a service animal. If an animal is excluded, the individual with a disability is given the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.
What can University affiliates ask to determine if an animal is a service animal?
The University at-large, with the exception of staff responsible for implementing this policy, will not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability to determine whether a person’s animal qualifies as a service animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal, members of the University community may make two inquiries to determine whether the animal qualifies as a service animal, which are:
- Is the animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the animal been trained to perform for the benefit of your disability?
What is an emotional support animal?
Emotional support animals provide emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship to their owners. An emotional support animal must be domesticated, and well-behaved. Their presence is generally limited to an individual’s University housing assignment.
Is an emotional support animal considered a service animal?
No. An emotional support animal is not a service animal and not afforded access to all public places. Emotional support animals are afforded protections under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
Does the Americans with Disabilities Act require service animals to be professionally trained?
No. Service animals can be trained by their owner or by another handler. People with disabilities are not required to use a professional service animal training program.
Is a service animal required to wear a service vest, patch or special harness identifying them as a service animal?
No. The ADA and the State of Texas do not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.
Is a service animal or emotional support animal required to have vaccinations?
Yes. Individuals with service animals and emotional support animals are not exempt from local animal control or public health requirements.
What is the difference between a service animal, an emotional support animal, and a pet?
A service animal is specially trained to perform certain tasks for a person with disabilities. The traditional service animal most people are familiar with is a seeing-eye dog. Service animals can be trained to assist with many different types of visible and invisible disabilities, including seizures and mobility limitations. A service animal is generally permitted to be on University property in any place where the animal’s handler is permitted to be. In certain limited situations, a service animal may be prohibited for safety and health reasons. Although most service animals are dogs, in some circumstances, a miniature horse may be considered as a service animal.
An emotional support animal is an animal that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling when there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the person’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. While emotional support animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A pet is generally a domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship that is not trained to provide any emotional, therapeutic, or medical services or tasks.
I have an approved animal in my residence and will be away for a period of time. May I ask someone to care for my animal?
Generally, no. The handler (owner) has primary responsibility for the approved animal and therefore should keep the animal in his or her possession at all times when possible and/or make arrangements for the animal to be housed off-campus during an extended period of leave.
Is a pet permitted on campus?
Pets are permitted in outdoor areas open to the general public.
What if an animal damages or destroys property and/or injures another animal or individual?
Any handler whose animal causes damage to property may be charged for replacement and repair of University or other individuals’ assets, including grounds, personal property and improvements.
If the presence of an animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the University reserves the right to remove or exclude an animal from University property. In such a situation, UTPD may be contacted to assist in the removal of the animal.
What about Bevo?
Bevo is explicitly allowed on campus pursuant to the policy and is overseen by trained handlers.
Are service animals allowed in dining areas?
Yes. Individuals with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service animals while visiting dining areas.
What needs to happen if a service animal is behaving aggressively towards others or a student is behaving aggressively towards a service animal?
Call campus police at 9-1-1.
What if someone brings a service animal to class and another student or employee has severe allergies around animal dander?
When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility. The final determination regarding how to manage the situation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Disability and Access (if a student) or the ADA Coordinators ( if an employee) for further information if a situation of this nature occurs.
The University commencement ceremony is outdoors. Can I bring my service animal, emotional support animal, or pet?
Service animals are generally permitted to be on University property in any place where the animal’s handler is permitted to be, including the University commencement ceremony. Emotional support animals and pets are not afforded access to the ceremony site.
Where can I go for additional resources?
Department of Justice FAQs at https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html
Office of the Texas Governor at https://gov.texas.gov/organization/disabilities/assistance_animals