Service and Assistance Animals Policy for Students

This policy addresses Service Animals and Assistance Animals as defined below, while they are 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 [FHA].” (see policies for assistance animals in section B below)

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, the library, Samson Student Center, etc., but must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

MIIS encourages students to register their service animals with the Office of Student Services.  MIIS may request proof of need for service animal as needed.

B. Assistance Animals

The definition of assistance animals under the FHA (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 domesticated animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, but do not meet the ADA definition of “service animal” as defined above. Assistance animals can also provide emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet. Due to the shared nature of our on-campus residential environment, Middlebury reserves the right to limit certain types of assistance animals. Based on past experience, snakes and ferrets, even if caged, are not permitted as either pets or assistance animals.

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 do not qualify as service animals under the ADA, they are only allowed in the room and building of the student who has been approved for reasonable accommodation. They will be allowed in outdoor spaces under proper handling when appropriate (e.g. taking a dog for a walk), but they are not allowed in other space, rooms or buildings on campus.

The average room size within the Munras Residence Hall is approximately 100 square feet.  With the bedrooms being comfortable, yet not very spacious, they do not lend themselves to be appropriate for large animals in addition to the residents.  Animals under forty pounds are recommended.

C. Student Responsibilities Relating to Service 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.

-Animals may not be left unattended for periods of time that may jeopardize the health or well-being of the animal or put others at risk.

-The owner/handler is responsible for any property damage caused by their animal including the cost to cover repairs for damage the animal causes to Middlebury property, except reasonable wear and tear.

ii. Licensing

The animal must be licensed and vaccinated in accordance with 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

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

-the animal is not housebroken,

-is not under the direct care and supervision of the owner/handler,

-the animal is out of control and the owner/handler does not take effective action to control it,

-if it is not vaccinated or licensed,

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

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

Request for ESA or Service Dog in Munras Housing

To request an ESA or Service dog in Munras Housing, please submit the Request for Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or Service Dog form.  Each request will be evaluated by the Associate Dean of Student Services, on an individualized basis using the general policies applicable to all reasonable accommodation requests.

If you should have any questions, please contact:

Ashley Arrocha
Associate Dean of Student Services or 831.647.4654
Office of Student Services (440 Van Buren Street)