Service Animals For Students With Disabilities 3.904

Related Administrative Procedures: 3.501 – Individuals with Disabilities

Elgin Community College complies with the revisions of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) revised regulations for Title II (State and local government) and Title III (places of public accommodation), revised as of September 15, 2010, regarding service animals for persons with disabilities. A service animal is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Under the ADA, only dogs and miniature ponies are considered to be service animals.  service_animals_2010

Regulations at ECC, in accordance with the ADA: 

Any person with a disability who has a service animal - student, employee or visitor to the college - is required to follow these regulations:

Under the ADA, the animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the person’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the person must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. 

The animal will be allowed in all areas of the facility where people are allowed unless the animal poses a direct threat, a fundamental alteration, is not housebroken or is not under the control of the person with the disability. The person can be told to remove the animal if: (1) the animal is out of control and the person does not take effective action to control it or (2) the animal is not housebroken. Animals must have all shots required by their city/county and tags need to be displayed. If not, the person may be asked to remove the animal from the premises.

In the eventuality that there are concerns for health/safety standards, such as labs where chemicals or foods are present or germ-free environments are critical, an assessment of where the animal may be located will be determined by the ADA Coordinator with input from that department.

It is the service animal’s companion sole responsibility to take care of the animal and ensure that the animal is taken outside to relieve itself and to dispose of waste material appropriately. If not done so, fines may be issued.

While staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the animal, or ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task, they may ask: “Is the animal required because of a disability?” and/or “What task(s) or work is your animal trained to perform?” Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. The work or task the animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. The animal is not required to wear anything indicating that it is a service animal, nor does the person have to possess identification, certification, license or paperwork for the animal.  

Service animals are working animals, not pets, therefore, these animals are not to be petted, called to, fed, or interfered with by any employees, students, or community members.

Under ADA, the following are NOT considered to be service animals:

  1. Animals that are not dogs or miniature ponies.
  2. Therapy animals; comfort pets; companion animals; social/therapy animals.

Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA, but ECC will entertain the presence of such animals if the person presents a reasonable request and assurances of compliance with the rest of this procedure, namely, care and responsibility for the animal. ECC is under no obligation to allow this, so each case will be judged on individual merit.