Service and Assistance Animal Policy
Lewis & Clark College (LC) is committed to serving, supporting, and reasonably accommodating students with disabilities.
Student Support Services (SSS) is an important campus resource for students who plan to bring a Service or Assistance Animal to campus. A Service Animal is different from an Assistance Animal, and there are different rules and polices that apply to each. Definitions of Service and Assistance Animals follow below.
LC students who plan to bring a Service Animal to LC are strongly encouraged to contact and partner with SSS. Advance notice of the impending arrival of a Service Animal may allow more flexibility in meeting a student’s potential housing preferences and possible academic accommodations.
Students considering bringing an Assistance Animal to LC are required to make an appointment with SSS well in advance of their arrival to discuss their request. SSS will determine on a case-by-case basis, whether bringing an Assistance Animal to campus is a reasonable accommodation for the student. In making this determination, SSS will consider the needs of the student with a disability as well as the impact the Assistance Animal may have on the campus community
Terms unique to Service and Assistance Animals are used throughout this policy. Definitions are listed below to assist readers who may be unfamiliar with this terminology
Service Animal: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a Service Animal as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” The work or task the dog is trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability (Department of Justice, 2010). Some examples of tasks that Service Animals perform are: assisting and guiding people with low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, or pulling a wheelchair. Under specific circumstances, a miniature horse may qualify as a Service Animal.
To learn more about Service Animals and the ADA: https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Assistance Animal: Comfort/Companion/Therapy/Emotional Support Animals are all terms used to describe Assistance Animals. An Assistance Animal is prescribed to a person with a disability by a licensed mental health or healthcare provider because the animal alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of the person’s disability. Assistance Animals are not required to be trained to perform a specific job or task and do not meet the ADA definition of Service Animal. Regulations pertaining to the Fair Housing Act (1988), under certain circumstances, allow an Assistance Animal in a College dwelling unit.
Handler: A person with a disability that a Service Animal assists or a personal care attendant who handles the animal for a person with a disability.
Team: A person with a disability and their Service Animal. The two work as a team in accomplishing the tasks of everyday living.
Owner: A person with a disability who utilizes a Service Animal or who has been prescribed an Assistance Animal.
Documentation Requirements and Approval Process
Service Animals are permitted in all buildings, classrooms, residence halls, dining areas, recreational facilities, and campus events when accompanied by the Service Animal’s handler. If it is not obvious what work or tasks an animal provides, LC staff may ask an individual whether the animal is needed due to a disability, and inquire into what work or specific task(s) the animal has been trained to perform. LC strongly encourages students who plan to bring a Service Animal to campus contact SSS well in advance of their arrival.
Assistance Animals are allowed only within the dwelling unit of their owner as a reasonable accommodation if:
- the person has a disability;
- the animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling; and
- there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.
Prior to bringing an Assistance Animal to campus, students must contact SSS and make an appointment to initiate the approval process. The approval process centers on if an Assistance Animal is a reasonable accommodation for a student with a disability and includes the following requirements:
Current documentation of the student’s disability from a licensed mental health or healthcare provider.
The mental health or healthcare provider must describe why the animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling.
The mental health or health care provider must establish there is a connection between the student’s disability and the service or assistance the specific animal type provides.
Responsibilities of Handlers/Owners
Handlers are responsible for any damage or injuries caused by their Service Animal and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The cost of arrangements as well as care for the well-being of a Service Animal is the responsibility of the handler.
The Service Animal should be on a harness or leash unless a needed service requires them to be off leash.
The Service Animal should respond to voice or hand commands at all times, and be in the full control of the handler.
To the extent possible, the Service Animal should be unobtrusive to other individuals and the learning, living, and working environment.
It is recommended that the Service Animal wear some type of commonly recognized identification symbol, identifying the animal as a working Service Animal, but not disclosing disability.
The handler or owner must ensure their Service Animal is licensed and vaccinated in accordance with Oregon State and Multnomah County regulations.
The handler or owner is responsible for any property damage caused by the Service Animal.
It is the responsibility of the handler to clean up the Service Animal’s waste in a sanitary manner. If the handler is not physically able to clean up after the Service Animal, it is then the responsibility of the handler to hire someone capable of cleaning up after the Service Animal.
An individual who has an Assistance Animal at LC is responsible for their animal at all times and must comply with the following requirements:
The owner of the Assistance Animal must be in full control of the animal at all times.
The owner must ensure their Assistance Animal is on a leash or harness at all times when the animal is outside of the owner’s residence hall room.
The owner takes responsibility for the behavior of the Assistance Animal in private and public places and is responsible for the care and well-being of the animal.
To the extent possible, the Assistance Animal should be unobtrusive to other individuals and the learning, living, and working environment.
The owner is responsible for any property damage caused by their Assistance Animal.
The owner must clean up after their Assistance Animal, including the sanitary disposal of animal wastes.
The Assistance Animal shall not constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
The owner must ensure their Assistance Animal is licensed in accordance with Oregon State and Multnomah County regulations and wear a valid tag.
The owner is responsible for the health of their Assistance Animal and must provide verification from a qualified veterinarian that all vaccinations appropriate for that type of animal are current and that the Assistance Animal is without fleas and parasites.
If an owner obtains a new/different Assistance Animal to be used under the provisions of this procedure, the new/different Assistance Animal must be registered with SSS
Conflicts over the use of Service & Assistance Animals
The use of Service and Assistance Animals may negatively affect others with allergies, respiratory impairments and other relevant disabling conditions. Conflict resolution will be managed by SSS. A person who is negatively affected by a Service or Assistance Animal may be required to provide evidence of the adverse impact during conflict resolution.
Every effort should be made by Emergency Response Team(s) to keep a Service Animal and/or Assistance Animal and the handler/owner together. However, the ERT’s first effort will be toward the handler/owner. This may necessitate leaving the Service and/or Assistance Animal behind in certain emergency evacuation situations.
Student Support Services Grievance policy can be reviewed through the department website: http://www.lclark.edu/offices/student_support_services/rights/grievance_procedure/
Approved by Executive Council September 7, 2016