Service Animals

A service animal is any dog specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. No other species of animal may serve as a service animal. Animals that do not perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability but rather serve as emotional support animals providing support, comfort or companionship, are not service animals. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks;
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds;
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work;
  • Pulling a wheelchair;
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure;
  • Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens;
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone;
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities;
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Notification to the University of the Service Animal

Students are not required to receive permission from the University prior to bringing a service animal onto University property. The student may be asked whether the animal is needed because of a disability, and what work or task(s) the animal has been trained to perform. Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal.

While students with service animals are not required to register with the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), if a student plans to reside on campus, it is recommended that they notify the CSD to allow the University to make appropriate arrangements, offer any necessary assistance prior to the student’s arrival on campus, and to notify Public Safety of the animal’s presence in case of an emergency. Students should contact Residential Life prior to bringing their animal into on-campus housing at or (860) 486-2020.

Student Responsibilities

  • A service animal must be supervised directly by the handler, and the handler must retain full control of the animal at all times while on University property.
  • A service animal must be controlled by a harness, leash or tether, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In these cases, the handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls.
  • Service animals may not be left unattended at any time on University property, except in the handler’s University residence. The service animal may be left unattended only for reasonable periods of time, as determined by the appropriate University staff based on the totality of circumstances. The University may request impoundment of a service animal left longer than a reasonable period of time. Owners of impounded animals will be held responsible for payment of any impound and/or license fee required to secure the release of their animals.
  • A handler who leaves their service animal unattended for longer than a reasonable period of time will receive one warning, and if the behavior occurs a second time, the University reserves the right to require the handler to remove the animal from campus and to prohibit the animal from being permitted back onto University property.
  • All handlers are responsible for compliance with state and local laws concerning animals (including registration, vaccinations and tags).
  • All handlers are responsible for controlling their animals, for cleaning up any waste created by the animal and for any damage caused by the animal to individuals or property while on University property.

Exclusion/Removal of Animal/Disruptive Animals

  • The accompaniment of an individual with a disability by a service animal in locations with health and safety restrictions, such as food preparation areas and laboratories, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with the appropriate department.
  • The University reserves the right to remove or exclude a service animal from University property if:
    • The animals poses a direct threat to health and safety;
    • The handler does not maintain control of the animal;
    • The presence of an animal fundamentally alters a University program;
    • Improper/inadequate care of the animal is exhibited, including if the animal is not housebroken;
    • Damage or harm is caused by the animal.
  • If the presence of a service animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the University reserves the right to remove or exclude the service animal from University property. In such a situation, Public Safety may be contacted to assist in the removal of the animal.
  • If a service animal is disruptive in the classroom, the instructor may ask the handler and their animal to leave the classroom immediately.

CSD Responsibilities

  • Notify faculty of a service animal in the classroom if we receive notification from student;
  • Collaborate with faculty and the student to determine safety needs of a service animal when indicated (as in the case of labs);
  • Notify Public Safety of a service animal when indicated.

Faculty/Staff Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with CSD and the student to determine safety needs of a service animal when indicated (as in the case of labs);
  • Allow a service animal to accompany the student at all times except in those areas with health and safety restrictions (see Exclusion/Removal of Animal/Disruption Animals section above);
  • If a service animal is not under control, request that the student remove the dog from the environment (see Exclusion/Removal of Animal/Disruption Animals section above).