Service Animal Policy

POLICY REGARDING SERVICE ANIMAL ACCESS

TO UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA FACILITIES,

PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES

 

This policy (“Policy”) is to implement federal and state laws regarding access for service animals as defined herein that assist disabled persons at the University of Georgia (“UGA”). 

1. Service Animal Defined.

Under federal law, a service animal is defined 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. Miniature horses are also permitted, where reasonable, when the miniature horses have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with a disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks 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, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

As indicated, the purpose of a service animal is to assist an individual with a disability as defined under federal and state law (“Handler”).  Service Animals must be allowed to accompany Handlers in all areas of UGA, subject to the restrictions found in paragraph 2 of this Policy.

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed.  Employees  may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.  Employees cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Georgia law, provides that for purposes of access to UGA facilities, programs, services or activities (“UGA Facilities”), persons (“Partners”) accompanying dogs being trained to be “service animals,” subject to certain identification and other requirements (“service animals in training”), are required to be given the same degree of access to which a Handler assisted by a service animal is entitled under applicable federal law.

Accordingly, for purposes of this Policy, “Service Animals” are collectively defined to include those that are defined by or the subject of applicable federal law and Georgia law. Service Animals do not include animals of any species that are pets or used merely for emotional comfort, support or therapy.

2.  Extent of and Restrictions on Service Animal Access.

 

UGA may prohibit or otherwise restrict the access of Service Animals in certain UGA Facilities due to health or safety restrictions and concerns or where their presence may compromise the integrity of certain research or otherwise fundamentally alter a program or activity of UGA.  Any such prohibition or other restriction on access to any UGA Facility pursuant to this Policy shall be determined in writing using the guidance provided by this Policy and other relevant information by responsible officials of each affected UGA unit with copies provided to the Director of the UGA Disability Resource Center (“DRC”) and the UGA Director of Equal Opportunity/Disability Compliance Officer (“ EOO Director”). Such restrictions include, but are not limited to:

  1. Food preparation areas.
  2. Teaching or research laboratories.
  3. Classrooms or other facilities or activities involving demonstration or research animals.
  4. Mechanical rooms or custodial closets such as boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, electrical closets, elevator control rooms, and similar spaces.
  5. Areas where personal protective clothing or equipment are necessary.
  6. Areas where there is a danger to the Service Animal such as classrooms or wood/metal/machine shops, where there are sharp metal cuttings or other sharp objects on the floor or protruding from a surface, where there is hot material on the floor (e.g. molten metal or glass), where there is a high level of dust, where there are harmful chemicals or materials, or where there is moving machinery.
  7. Such other areas where the Service Animal or other animals may be endangered or constitute a danger to persons.
  8. Areas where the presence of the Service Animal would cause or require a fundamental alteration of a UGA program or activity.

3. Notifications.

The EOO Director will coordinate with UGA units that restrict access of Service Animals from specific UGA Facilities to provide appropriate notice to all members of the UGA community and the public at large as to those UGA Facilities from which Service Animals are restricted.

4. Requirements of Handlers and Partners and Grounds for Removal of Service Animals from UGA Facilities.

a.  Handlers and Partners are required to keep their Service Animals under their direct physical control at all times by means of an appropriate leash or other lead of a type and length that enables the Handler or Partner to maintain close and direct physical control of the Service Animal.  Handlers and Partners are also prohibited from transferring  such control to another person even momentarily, requesting  the assistance of other persons in supervising or controlling  their Service Animals or otherwise leaving the presence of their Service Animals for any period of time while on UGA Facilities.  Any Handler or Partner seeking an exception from the requirements of this subparagraph 4a., such as in the case of a Handler or Partner residing in UGA housing, must request an appropriate exception as provided in paragraph 7 of this policy.

b. Handlers and Partners are required to remove a Service Animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g. biting or attempting to bite, barking, running around, jumping at or up on people or other excessive physical activity), or may be directed to do so by a UGA faculty or staff member or by any member of the UGA Police Department.  In determining whether a Service Animal is being unruly or disruptive within the meaning of this paragraph, all facts and circumstances may be considered.  In the event of such behavior by a Service Animal, it may be denied access to UGA Facilities until the Handler or Partner can demonstrate that he or she has taken sufficient steps to correct or control the unacceptable behavior of the Service Animal.

c. Handlers and Partners shall not bring a Service Animal that is ill to UGA Facilities and must remove the Service Animal from UGA Facilities immediately if it becomes ill.  A Handler or Partner with a Service Animal that appears to be ill may be asked to remove the Service Animal from UGA Facilities by UGA Police or other UGA faculty or staff.

d. Handlers and Partners must ensure that their Service Animals are kept clean and well groomed. Handlers and Partners with Service Animals that are, in the reasonable opinion of a responsible faculty or staff member of the affected UGA unit, unhygienic (e.g., flea-infested, foul-smelling, or inadequately groomed as may be appropriate for the breed and other physical characteristics of the particular Service Animal) may be asked to leave UGA Facilities or activities until such conditions are corrected.

e. Handlers and Partners must ensure that their Service Animals are housebroken. Service Animals will be excluded from UGA Facilities if they are not. In the event of an isolated incident of a Service Animal failing to control its bodily eliminations due to illness or accident, the Handler or Partner is responsible for immediately and properly cleaning up and disposing of any bodily fluids or solid waste from the Service Animal whether indoors or outdoors.

Proper clean-up will depend on the specific circumstances but includes at a minimum physical removal of any liquid and solid wastes and disposal of the same and the cleaning materials used securely in a plastic bag and deposited in an outdoor waste container.  To this end, Handlers and Partners are required to have in their possession at all times when accompanied by their Service Animals appropriate and sufficient cleaning materials and disposal bags whenever their Service Animals are present on UGA Facilities or property. 

In the event of any such incident and after the immediate clean-up action required above, the Handler or Partner must notify an appropriate UGA employee in the affected building or area of the incident, such as those persons performing custodial or reception functions in the affected building so that further deodorization and disinfection procedures can be performed as needed by appropriate UGA personnel.  Where such UGA personnel are not readily available, the Handler or Partner must contact UGA Custodial Services at 706-542-0293 (if in a building) or the UGA Grounds Department at 706-542-7540 (if outside a building).

In the case of a Handler whose disability prevents or impairs the ability to comply with the requirements of this paragraph, as required by applicable federal laws, it is the responsibility of such Handler to have previously made satisfactory arrangements for a third party to perform all actions required by this paragraph. If a Handler is unable to comply with the requirements of this paragraph, such arrangements must be documented in the Handler’s disability records at the DRC. In all cases of damage to UGA Facilities or property by a Service Animal failing to control its bodily eliminations due to illness or accident or in any other manner, the Handler or Partner is personally responsible for the cost of additional cleaning of or repairs to UGA facilities or the cleaning, repair, or replacement of damaged property.

f. Handlers or Partners of a Service Animal shall be liable for any and all costs resulting when a Service Animal causes damage to UGA Facilities or property or injury to persons.  In the case of any incident involving injury to a person by a Service Animal, the Handler or Partner shall make an immediate report to the UGA Police Department so that the incident can be properly investigated and documented and the Handler or Partner shall also fully comply with any state or local law or regulation requiring additional reports to other government agencies that may be required due to the physical injury caused by the Service Animal.

In addition to any other obligations contained in this paragraph 4, within 24 hours following any such incident involving such property damage or personal injury, the Handler or Partner shall submit a detailed written report regarding the incident that should include copies or other written confirmation that all other reports required in this policy have been duly made and that any actions required under other state or local laws such as quarantine of the Service Animal and the like have been taken.  For purposes of this Policy, all such summary reports must be filed with the Office of the EOO Director, 119 Holmes-Hunter Academic Building, Email: ugaeoo@uga.edu.

 

5. UGA Housing.

For those Handlers and Partners residing in UGA housing, the policies and procedures provided in the UGA Department of University Housing’s Community Guide: https://housing.uga.edu/about/publications/guide  (“Guide”) continue to apply and supplement this Policy.  Any provisions in the Guide inconsistent with those of this Policy shall be controlled by this Policy.

6. UGA Service Animal Committee.

A committee consisting of the UGA Chief of Police, the EOO Director, and other appropriate UGA officials when circumstances permit,  will be responsible for providing the final determination on the risk, potential hazard, potential for property damage, or potential for public nuisance of any Service Animal on UGA Facilities. Nothing in this Policy is intended to limit the freedom and responsibility of UGA Police Department in the assessment or handling of any emergency situation involving any animal, including Service Animals, on UGA Facilities.

7. Exceptions.

Exceptions to any provision of this Policy, including restrictions placed by UGA units on access to specific areas or other aspects of  UGA Facilities for Service Animals will normally be considered on a case-by-case basis upon written request to the EOO Director, submitted not less than five business days prior to the effective date of any such exception. The EOO Director will consult with other appropriate members of the UGA community in an interactive process to determine whether or not the request will be granted or denied taking into account all of the relevant facts and circumstances and will so inform the requester in writing, including any specific additional conditions or restrictions in those cases where exceptions are granted.

Under certain exigent or other unusual circumstances, a responsible official of a UGA unit may allow a temporary exemption (for a duration and extent consistent with the nature of the exigency or other unusual circumstances) to any provision of this Policy regarding restrictions placed by UGA units on access for Service Animals to specific areas or other aspects of UGA Facilities contained in paragraph 2 of this Policy or specific requirements for Handlers or Partners contained in paragraph 4 of this Policy but any such action must thereafter be reported in writing in a timely manner to the EOO Director explaining all the relevant circumstances.

 

8. Administrative and Other Matters.

In the case of students, Partners must first contact the DRC to register their service animals in training.  In the case of a Partner this would require appropriate documentation for his or her service animal in training to document his or her credentials from the accredited school for which the Service Animal is being raised.   .

For all service animals in training that are allowed access to UGA Facilities, the DRC shall maintain appropriate records on service animals in training whose  Partners are students.  Appropriate UGA units, with the assistance of the EOO Director, will develop and implement the necessary administrative and other requirements, actions and procedures for registering all service animals in training, identifying such registered service animals in training and their Partners, informing all Partners of the provisions of this Policy and undertake such other actions necessary for its effective implementation.

The provisions of this Policy are minimal requirements that may be supplemented by more specific requirements and procedures developed and implemented by individual UGA units due to the particular circumstances involved.  Upon approval by the EOO Director, these shall also be enforceable under this Policy.

Students who require the use of Service Animals that have been trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities may choose to register their dogs with the DRC, but are not required to do so.  Employees who require the use of Service Animals that have been trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities may choose to register their dogs with Faculty and Staff Relations in Human Resources, but are not required to do so.

9.  Student Violations of this Policy.

In the case of student Handlers or Partners, failure to comply with this Policy may constitute one or more violations of the UGA Code of Conduct within the jurisdiction of the UGA Office of Student Conduct.