This section outlines the use of service animals by students, employees, visitors, and other participants in services, programs or activities. The University permits service animals into University buildings where other animals would typically not be permitted, this includes any University housing assigned to the individual after following the required approval steps outlined in the Animals on Campus policy. The service animal must be trained in the work or tasks directly related to the disability of the person who needs the service animal’s assistance.
In very limited circumstances, arrangements may need to be made to ensure the integrity of the University’s research enterprise due to the potential hazards a service animal poses that a human being does not. Individuals who work in certain laboratory or other sterile environments may need to work with the unit and the ADA Coordinators or Disability and Access to determine if the service animal can be accommodated in these unique spaces. Due to the presence of research animals, certain buildings may also pose limitations to the presence of service animals. Additionally, state health code regulations prevent service animals from entering the water of swimming pools.
Federal regulations define service animals as dogs, or in some cases, miniature horses, that are trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, and pressing an elevator button. An animal that meets this definition, is considered a service animal regardless of whether or not the animal has received formal training through an agency. A service animal is a working animal, not a pet.
Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the disability of the person who needs the service animal’s assistance. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, and companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of defining a service animal.
Service Animals in University Buildings
A student is not required to submit an accommodation request to bring a service animal into a University building, with the exception of University housing. University students living in University housing must seek registration for a service animal to reside in University housing space as outlined in the Animals on Campus policy. University students are highly encouraged to let Disability and Access know they are planning to use a service animal; this helps the University address any logistical issues with the animal’s presence, such as access to restricted areas and ensuring appropriate space for the animal.
Employees interested in bringing a service animal to their workplace as a reasonable accommodation under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act are required to consult with the ADA Coordinators and should visit the employee accommodation website to initiate the University’s ADA accommodation process. However, if the need for the service animal is obvious (e.g. guide dog) a consultation is not required.
Visitors to the University
Visitors with service animals are permitted into University buildings providing they follow federal, state and local laws and the rules and expectations covered in the Animals on Campus policy.
Service Animals in University Housing
Students, faculty, staff, and visitors must seek registration for a service animal to reside in University housing space. Be aware that it may take time for information to be received from health care professionals. Insufficient documentation may result in accommodation delays or denial.
Students in University Housing
Before a service animal can move into University housing with a student with a disability, a request must be submitted to and approved by Disability and Access. Failure to obtain approval may result in the animal being removed from University housing. To initiate the approval process, students should follow the process outlined on the Disability and Access website.
If you are attending Freshman Orientation and need housing accommodations due to a disability, follow the process outlined on the Disability and Access website.
Employees in University Housing
Requests made by faculty or staff residing in University Housing should be directed to the ADA Coordinators. Before a Service Animal can move into University Housing with an employee with a disability, a request must be submitted to and approved by the ADA Coordinators. Failure to obtain approval may result in the animal being removed from University housing. To initiate the approval process, employees should visit the employee accommodation website to begin the accommodation process.
Visitors in University Housing
University Housing and Dining provides lodging for participants of special groups, conferences or workshops, and summer camps, which are affiliated with or sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin. Before a visitor with a service animal can stay in University housing, a request must be submitted to and approved by the ADA Coordinators. A minimum stay is not required for visitors with service animals. However, failure to obtain approval may result in the animal being removed from University housing.
Visitors should contact the ADA Coordinators to initiate the approval process at least three (3) weeks before his or her scheduled arrival. To initiate the approval process, complete and submit the Visitor Request to have a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal Form.
Should an individual’s request for a service animal in University housing be denied, the individual may appeal the decision to the ADA Coordinators.