Guidelines for Members of The University of Texas at Austin Community
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?
Animals are permitted on campus grounds and, in some cases, are permitted into University buildings, provided the animal’s handler follows federal, state, and local laws and those rules covered in this policy. An individual bringing an animal to campus is expected to be mindful that the animal may constitute a hazard to others, especially in confined or closed spaces. Such hazards may include allergies and bites. In addition, the presence of an animal in certain areas may distract or interrupt activities or may create a nuisance, including the nuisance caused by animal waste, noise, and damage to property.
An individual bringing an animal to campus is required to exercise reasonable control over their animal in order to minimize the risk to others and to property. The animal handler is responsible and liable for the animal at all times while the animal is on campus. Any injury to a member of the University community or damages to University property caused by an animal will be the responsibility of the animal handler. Additionally, the following rules apply to animals on campus:
- Animals must comply with any and all county and state laws including, but not limited to, animal license requirements, vaccination, and identification tags.
- An animal’s handler must keep the animal under control and take effective action when it is out of control.
- An animal’s handler must secure the animal to a leash, cord, chain, or similar direct physical control of a maximum length of six (6) feet, the other end of which is restrained by a person. If this constraint interferes with the animal’s work or if the individual’s disability prevents using these devices, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective means. Physical constraint of the animal does not apply to approved animals kept within an individual’s University housing assignment.
- Animals must not be tethered to a stationary fixture or tree, or left unattended on campus.
- Animals must not be abandoned on campus. Abandonment of an animal may be considered a cruel and illegal act under Texas’ anti-cruelty statutes.
- An animal’s handler is responsible for feeding and exercising the animal.
- An animal’s handler is responsible for cleaning up after the animal and disposing of its waste.
- An animal’s handler is responsible for paying for the costs associated with repair or replacement for any damage caused by the animal.
- The University may take reasonable efforts to remove an animal confined in a vehicle when there appears to be imminent danger to the animal due to inadequate ventilation or temperature. The University is not liable for any associated repair/damage costs to the vehicle for this action and the animal’s owner assumes full responsibility.
- Individuals must not falsely claim that an animal is a service animal or emotional support animal when it is not. Such an action is in violation of state and federal law.
- Under Texas state law, it is a crime to hurt, maim, attack, or kill a service animal or emotional support animal.
- Under Texas state law, a person who habitually abuses or neglects to feed or otherwise neglects to properly care for his or her animal is subject to having the animal seized and removed.
Removal of an Animal
In all cases, the handler of the animal is responsible for the animal’s behavior. In the event that removal of a service animal or emotional support animal is determined to be necessary, the person with a disability will still have the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the animal present. The University may remove or require an individual to remove an animal from campus if:
- The animal is out of control and the handler fails to control it.
- The animal’s waste is not being properly disposed of or the animal is damaging campus property.
- The animal poses a threat to the health or safety of others.
- The animal’s handler does not provide the standard of care required by state law, including, but not limited to, the failure to provide the necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody.
- The animal does not have the licenses, vaccinations, and identification required by state law.