Service and Assistance Animals Policy

This policy addresses Service Animals and Assistance Animals, as defined below, while they are on campus. For policies regarding general pets and animals on campus, see the Pets and Animals section of the College Handbook (http://www.middlebury.edu/about/handbook/misc/animals).

 1. Policy for Students and Other Non-Employees on Campus

A.      Service Animals

The Department of Justice defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 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. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act …”

Service animals need not have special certification or identification in order to qualify as such. They need only be required because of a disability and to be trained to work or perform a task. If it is not readily apparent what work an animal performs, Middlebury personnel will limit inquiries to only two questions, which are:

1)      Is this animal a service animal required because of a disability?

2)      What task or work has this animal been trained to perform?

Service animals shall be allowed into any area of the campus that students or other handlers may go including the classrooms, libraries, museums, dining halls, etc. Service animals are allowed on these premises unless the animal is out of control or is not housebroken. Miniature horses may also be recognized as service animals. In accordance with applicable regulations, Middlebury’s permitting the use of a miniature horse on campus will depend upon: (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility. Otherwise, related inquiries will be the same as those for dogs that are service animals.

Middlebury encourages students, faculty, and staff to register their service animals with the College on the web at http://www.middlebury.edu/student-life/community-living/diversity-inclusivity/american-disability-act but this is not a requirement.

B.      Assistance Animals

The definition of assistance animals under the FHA (the Fair Housing Act) and for the purposes of Middlebury’s policies is broader than the definition of service animal under the ADA, and may include animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability but are not dogs or miniature horses that meet the definition of service animal stated above, or are animals that provide emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development applies the FHA to numerous housing situations including dorms and residence halls on college and university campuses. It requires such entities to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities living in dorms and residence halls. Assistance animals are considered a reasonable accommodation under the FHA. 

Because assistance animals that do not qualify as service animals are covered only by the FHA, they are allowed only in residence halls on campus and only in the room of the student who has been approved for this accommodation. They will be allowed in outdoor spaces under proper handling when appropriate, but they are not allowed in other buildings on campus. 

i.  Requesting Permission to Use Assistance Animals

In order to request permission to use an assistance animal, a student must initiate the accommodation process through Student Accessibility Services (SAS) by filling out an Accommodation Request Form (ARF) online at http://www.middlebury.edu/student-life/community-living/diversity-inclusivity/american-disability-act/adaarfs or by contacting SAS to obtain an alternative format of the form.

In addition to the ARF, students must provide supporting documentation of their disability and of their need for an assistance animal. Middlebury’s documentation requirements are discussed on the ARF and in the ADA policy, both of which are available from SAS in a variety of accessible formats or on the web at http://www.middlebury.edu/student-life/community-living/diversity-inclusivity/american-disability-act.

If use of an assistance animal is approved by Middlebury, eligible students must, each academic year or every summer, register the animal with the College on the web at http://www.middlebury.edu/student-life/community-living/diversity-inclusivity/american-disability-act. Information on the animal registration form may be shared with SAS, the Department of Public Safety, and the Residential Life staff in order to confirm and/or receive confirmation that your animal has been approved as an accommodation.

All accommodation requests are reviewed by the ADA Committee, and students will be informed of decisions in writing.

ii.  Appeals Process

Students may appeal any written decision of the ADA Committee by following the procedures outlined in the ADA policy which is available from Student Accessibility Services in a variety of accessible formats or on the web at http://www.middlebury.edu/student-life/community-living/diversity-inclusivity/american-disability-act.

C. Student and Non-Employee Responsibilities Relating to Service Animals and Assistance Animals

i.  Care and Supervision

-Animals must be accompanied by their owners/handlers and under their control at all times.

-Owners/handlers are responsible for their animal’s behavior in both public and private areas, and they must ensure their animals are harnessed or on a leash at all times.

-Owners/handlers are responsible for cleaning and grooming related to their animal including bathing and grooming, pest control, and sanitary disposal of animal waste.

-The owner/handler is responsible for any property damage caused by their animal.

ii.  Licensing

The animal must be licensed and vaccinated in accordance with Vermont state, county, and/or municipal laws. The vaccination tag and license must be worn by the animal at all times.

iii.  Removal of an Animal

Middlebury maintains the right to remove an animal under certain circumstances if:

-the animal is out of control of the handler,

-if it is not vaccinated or licensed,

-if it causes disturbances such as noise or excessive odors, or

-if it poses a direct threat to any member of the Middlebury community. 

2.  Policy for Employees

An employee may be allowed to use a service animal or assistance animal if they are an individual with a disability and the use of the animal is required as a reasonable accommodation. Middlebury will determine whether to grant such an accommodation, and what conditions will apply, under the procedures generally applicable to employee requests for accommodations, which is available at: http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/business/hr/staffandfaculty/ada

3.  Additional Resources 

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, ADA 2010 Revised Requirements, http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO), FHEO-2013-01, Issued April 25, 2013. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=servanimals_ntcfheo2013-01.pdf

Effective date: September 16, 2014; Publication date: September 16, 2014