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Pima County Community College District Standard Practice Guide

SPG Title: Guidelines for Utilization of Service Animals for Individuals with Disabilities
SPG Number: SPG-3603/BA
Effective Date: 3/10/04
Approval Date:  3/9/04
Review Date(s):  3/15/07
Revision Date(s):
Schedule for Review & Update:  Annually
Unit Responsible for Review & Update:   
Sponsoring Unit/Department: Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and student Services
Regulation Title & No.: Utilization of Service Animals by Individuals with Disabilities, RG-3603/B
Board Policy Title & No.: Disabled Student Resources, BP-3603
Legal Reference: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; Letter on Service Animals, July 26, 1996, Letter from The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Association of Attorneys General Disability Rights Task Force; A.R.S. 11-1024 & 13-2910
Cross Reference: Resolution Directing Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance; Standards for ADA/504 Compliance, RG-1501/A & SPG-1501/AA; Disabled Student Resources, BP-3603, RG-3603/A, & SPG-1501/AD; Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, BP-1501, RG-4201/A, & SPG-1501/AC


Compliance and Access
It is the College’s intention to ensure that persons with disabilities who have a legitimate and/or documented basis for utilizing Service Animals on College premises are permitted to do so, with appropriate exceptions based in health, safety, avoidance of disruption in educational programming, or fundamental alteration of services, activities, and programs. 

This SPG applies to students, employees, and the public who utilize PCC programs and services.  It sets forth the College’s requirements for use of Service Animals by qualified individuals with a disability or disabilities for access to facilities and programs or as a reasonable accommodation in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended. 

Other purposes of the regulation include: establishing procedures for the registration of Service Animals utilized on an ongoing basis for access and accommodation on College premises with the Disabled Student Resources Department or EEO/AA & ADA Office; outlining required behavioral standards for Service Animals and Partner/Handler responsibilities; establishing protocol for the exclusion of animals under specific and appropriate conditions; and establishing specific guidelines and limits for the appropriate utilization of Service Animals.


Individuals with Disabilities
A disability is defined as “A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual, a record of having such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment,” by Title I of the ADA Regulations, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.  Whether an individual qualifies can be impacted by mitigating measures – the use of medication, assistive devices or other measures that ameliorate the effects of a mental or physical limitation.  {Sutton v. United Airlines, 119 S. Ct. 2139 (1999)}  Only individuals meeting the definition for disabled or the comparable definitions under 504 or state law may use Service Animals on College property or at College activities.

Service Animal/Service Dog
The ADA defines Service Animals as "Any animal individually trained to do work or to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."  (Title III, ADA regulations - 28 C.F.R. § 36.104)  Arizona Revised Statute 11-1024 indicates that “Service Dog” means a dog which has gone through a formal training program, which assists its owner in one or more daily living tasks associated with a productive life-style and which is sufficiently conditioned to be of no danger to the health and safety of the general public.”

Therapy Animals
Animals with good temperaments selected to visit or serve as companions for people with non-physical/non-sensory disabilities, emotional impairments, or people who are experiencing the frailties of aging as a therapy tool are generally referred to as "therapy animals."  Often such animals are utilized as part of formalized "animal therapy programs." Therapy animals generally do not demonstrably assist persons with disabilities in the activities of daily living, or directly with the major life activities, as defined by law, including: caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.  The therapy animal does not provide fundamental assistance all or most of the time (as, for example, a guide dog for the blind typically does).  Emotional dependency on companion animals, pets, or therapy animals does not generally rise to the standard of Service Animals as defined in the ADA.  Such animals are thus generally not considered Service Animals for the purposes of the College’s regulation and are not permitted on PCC premises.

Exceptions are possible when the individual requesting the assistance of a therapy animal provides appropriate documentation to the College from a qualified diagnostician or medical professional that demonstrates the animal ameliorates a condition that qualifies as a disability.

Direct Threat
“Direct threat” means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.  28 C.F.R. § 36.208.


Roles and Responsibilities

Administrative Procedures for Students and the Public Utilizing Service Animals for Services, Activities, and Programs

The Disabled Student Resources Specialists maintain responsibility for registering Service Animals for ongoing use for access and accommodation by students or members of the public, including determining whether specific animals meet the definition of ‘Service Animal’ under the ADA.  DSR Specialists in concert with the AVC for Student Services and campus Deans of Student Development are charged with taking administrative action if conduct of a Service Animal or Partner/Handler (in the case of students or the public) is inconsistent with this SPG.

Administrative Procedures for Employees Utilizing Service Animals
The AA/EEO & ADA/Section 504 Officer is responsible for registering Service Animals for ongoing use for access and accommodation by employees, including determining whether specific animals meet the definition of ‘Service Animal’ under the ADA.  The AA/EEO & ADA/504 Officer is responsible for taking administrative action if conduct of a Service Animal or Partner/Handler is inconsistent with this SPG.

The AA/EEO & ADA/Section 504 Officer shall also adjudicate disputes arising from use of a Service Animal by a students or member of the public pursuant to existing Regulations and Standard Practice Guides.  The Chancellor or designee shall make the final determination if the decision of the AA/EEO & ADA/Section 504 Officer is challenged.

Determination of Legitimate Service Animal Status and Appropriate Use
Only animals qualifying as Service Animals under state or federal law are permitted on College facilities, except under limited circumstances.  Service Animals may be excluded from College facilities under certain circumstances when necessary to protect legitimate College interests.  These situations include:

  1. Preventing interference with the work of another Service Animal,
  2. Preventing “Fundamental Alteration” of curricula, services, activities, or programs due to the presence of an animal,
  3. Protecting educational activities from interference by animals or handlers failing to maintain appropriate behavioral standards
  4. Maintaining and protecting the rights of others under the ADA/504,
  5. Protecting College property, and
  6. Preventing a “Direct Threat” to the health and safety of the public, employees, and students due to the presence of an animal.

Requirements for Faculty, Staff and Students Regarding Service Animals Utilized on College Facilities

Faculty, staff, and students must:

  1. Allow a Service Animal to accompany the Partner/Handler at all times and in all locations on campus or where other students and the public are generally permitted.  Exceptions to this are locations where Service Animals may be restricted because they will fundamentally alter the activities there, or a hazard may be presented to the animal.  Anyone with a question or concern about whether access for a Service Animal should be limited should direct that inquiry to the DSR 504 Coordinator (students) or the AA/EEO & ADA Officer (employees).
  2. Never deliberately harass, startle, distract, or interfere with the work of a Service Animal.  Violations may be subject to code of conduct penalties or penalties from other applicable policies.
  3. Never attempt to separate a Partner/Handler from her or his Service Animal unless required by emergency circumstances.
  4. Not feed, pet, or interact with a Service Animal without the Partner/Handler's expressed permission.  Follow any instructions given for any interaction.  Petting and attention given to animals may distract them and make it difficult for them to serve the person with a disability.
  5. Permit the Disabled Student Resources Department and other authorized agents of the College to make determinations of whether Service Animals are utilized appropriately and are specifically trained to perform tasks or do work.  No other personnel should request any form of documentation to determine training level or appropriateness of Service Animals.  Questions or concerns about Service Animals should be directed to DSR.

General Guidelines for Use of Authorized Service Animals

To qualify to use a Service Animal as an accommodation for access to College facilities or participation in College programs and activities, the individual must have a disability that meets the definition set forth above, and, as required, provide appropriate supporting documentation from a qualified professional.

Capacity to ‘Do Work and Perform Tasks’
The ADA does not require specific certification of animals utilized for service or guidance.  However, it does require that they be individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks that assist the person with a disability, as cited above.

Determination that an animal meets such standards may be accomplished through written documentation and/or observation of the Service Animal and Partner/Handler.  PCC reserves the right to require further evaluation including testing of the Service Animal, evaluation by independent experts or other appropriate means to confirm that the Service Animal has proper skills and behavior to ameliorate the disability of the Partner/Handler.

Lack of Capability – Non-Service Animal
If the animal does not meet the requirements for a Service Animal or displays aggressive or other inappropriate behavior, PCC may require removal of the animal from its facilities.

Consistency of Limitation and Tasks Performed by Service Animal
Qualified use of a Service Animal requires that the animal provide services consistent with the limitations imposed by the disability.  Qualified use also requires that the Service Animal not pose a “direct threat” to the safety of others, interfere with College programs or activities, or damage College property.

Fundamental Alteration
The College must analyze whether the presence of the Service Animal would have a significant effect upon the service, program, or activity involved.  If it is determined that the use of the Service Animal causes or would reasonably be expected to cause a fundamental alteration in services, programs, or activities, the College may exclude the animal from its facilities and Campuses.  (Title II of the ADA Regulations, 28 C.F.R., § 35.130 [b] [7] and 35.164)

Alternative Access or Accommodation
If the College determines that the use of a particular animal will not be permitted, the Disabled Student Resources Departments and Specialists (for students and the general public), or the AA/EEO & ADA/Section 504 Officer (for employees) will:

  1. Analyze and determine whether alternative modifications to College practices, procedures, or environment or use of alternative services or aides are available and appropriate that would permit the individual to participate in services, programs, or activities.
  2. Engage in an interactive dialogue with the disabled individual to determine whether alternative accommodations are available and appropriate.

Access with Service Animals by the General Public with Disabilities
Members of the general public with disabilities (non-students) who utilize a Service Animal may bring their animals onto PCC facilities to participate in activities offered to the general public in order to assist with access, including: information and registration services, seminars, library services, dramatic and other events, lab services open to the public, etc.  No documentation is required under such circumstances.  However, some form of controlling tether (leash, harness, or similar system) is required.

Additionally, some visible indication that the animal is a working Service Animal is requested, such as a label, cape, tag, marked harness, or other standard method.  Service Animals used by the general public must meet the Standards of Work and Conduct listed below, or the Partner/Handler may be asked to remove animals from PCC facilities.

Areas Off-Limits To Service Animals
Service Animals may not be permitted to work in areas where they may interfere with the fundamental nature of the activities being conducted there.  Examples include, but are not limited to: laboratories where introduced viruses or bacteria might interfere with scientific work, areas in which food is being prepared for the public, mechanical rooms or machine-based instructional areas in which noise or machinery may pose a hazard to the animal, areas where protective clothing is required, or other areas that may reasonably pose a hazard to the animal. 

Determination of areas that are off-limits to Service Animals shall be made by the appropriate administrative authority for the department and qualified College personnel with expertise in the academic or student services area (instructors, staff, etc.) in conjunction with the authorized DSR personnel with oversight by the DSR 504 Coordinator or the AA/EEO & ADA/504 Officer.  Individual exceptions granting access to restricted areas may also be made (with any appropriate parameters or constraints) by the appropriate administrative authority for the facility.

Prioritization of Accommodation in Case of Conflict between the Needs of Persons with Documented Disabilities
In a case in which the use of the Service Animal may conflict with the rights granted by ADA/504 to other students with disabilities (e.g. the dander of a Service Animal makes it impossible for a student with a chemical sensitivity disorder to be in the same class due to threats to health) the College reserves the right to determine how the conflicting interests will be resolved. 

Registration of Service Animals Utilized for Ongoing Access or Accommodation

Ongoing Utilization of Service Animals by Students or the Public
Any student or member of the public wishing to use a Service Animal to provide ongoing accommodation or access for College facilities, programs or activities must register the animal with a Disabled Student Resource Office.  The registration procedure includes: 

  1. Providing sufficient evidence verifying that the animal meets the definition of a Service Animal and the guidelines established by this SPG. 
  2. Providing evidence that the Service Animal has satisfactory health (documentation required).  Updates on animal health status may be required on an annual basis.
  3. Stating specific plans for maintenance of the animal while on PCC site, including toiletry and disposal.  If the student is unable to perform this function, and alternative person must be identified. College personnel are responsible for this service.
  4. Signing an authorization form granting DSR permission to notify appropriate campus and PCC site personnel/departments of the presence of the animal and any special circumstances relevant to the use of a Service Animal.

Ongoing Utilization of Service Animals by Employees
Disabled employees utilizing Service Animals on an ongoing basis for access or reasonable accommodation must register their Service Animals using the same process outlined above, except that the process will be conducted through the AA/EEO & ADA Office.  The employee must notify other personnel of the College of the presence of a Service Animal as appropriate and necessary as a courtesy and to avoid any potential disruption.

Behavioral Guidelines for Service Animals

Standards of Work and Conduct
Service Animals must be capable of demonstrating appropriate attention, responsiveness to commands, and general working behavior.  The College’s Behavioral Guidelines for Service Animals include the following:

  1. Proximity and Calmness:  Service Animals will maintain quiet, calm, and close proximity to their Partner/Handler - at their side, at their feet, by the side of the wheelchair, etc.  Service Animals must be on a form of tether – leash, harness, or similar system while on College premises.  In classrooms, cafeterias, and other public areas, the Service Animal must remain quietly under chairs or tables or be placed in such a manner so that they are out of the traveling paths of others.
  2. Supervision:  Service Animals may not be left in the care of other students or individuals on PCC premises with the exception of DSR professional personnel who have agreed to supervise the animal for a specified period of time under appropriate circumstances.
  3. Control:  The Service Animal must remain in the control of the Partner/Handler at all times.  Impermissible behaviors include, but are not limited to: consistent pulling or straining at leashes or harnesses; escaping; running freely on PCC premises; being in facilities and areas out of the direct sight, control, or proximity of the Partner/Handler; running to join or harass other animals; etc.  This includes toileting breaks and informal times before, between, or following courses.
  4. Aggression and Direct Threat:  The Service Animal must not display aggressive behavior to other animals or to people, i.e. including but not limited to: growling; showing barred teeth; raising hackles; barking; fighting with other animals; biting or snapping; etc.  The Service Animal may not present a 'Direct Threat' to itself, persons, or other animals through its behavior.
  5. Disruption or Distraction: The Service Animal must not draw attention to itself or serve as a distraction or disruption, i.e. including but not limited to: jumping; barking; excessive or uncontrolled sniffing behaviors; inappropriate begging, whining or distracting noises; inability to settle appropriately; etc.  However, the mere presence of a Service Animal will not normally be considered an inappropriate disruption or distraction.
  6. Toiletry:  The Service Animal must not toilet inside any building or in any inappropriate area.  Violations that are reasonable accidents in animals displaying generally appropriate toileting behaviors may be qualified as an exception to this standard.  Campuses shall designate reasonable toileting areas and areas that are off limits to toileting – such rules must be followed.  Information on approved toiletry areas may be obtained in the campus Dean of Student Development offices.
  7. Hygiene:  Service Animals must behave in such a way as to maintain appropriate hygiene for the general public, i.e. including but not limited to: keeping noses, paws, and other body parts away from tables, trays, food-serving counters, etc.
  8. Environment and Controllability:  The Service Animal must not become uncontrollable due to predictable environmental circumstances, including but not limited to: sirens; fire alarms; wind or storms; loud noises generated by people in public settings; etc.

Animals “In Training”/ Definition of “Trainee”
An animal undergoing training to become a Service Animal is a “Trainee” or “Service Animal in Training.”  Trainee animals may not be fully mature in the provision of work and performance of tasks, and may not be fully socialized.  A trainee must demonstrate good progress toward the Standards of Work and Conduct as outlined above, and must not show aggression.  The Trainee must be under the control of the Partner/Handler at all times, or trainer, who may or may not have a disability.  If the Trainee shows improper behavior, the Partner/Handler or trainer must act promptly and within humane training and behavioral modification standards (as established by appropriate local animal authorities) to correct the animal’s conduct, or remove the animal from PCC facilities if appropriate and necessary.  Use of muzzles, restraints, or other appropriate devices must be used if necessary to maintain good progress toward the Standards of Work and Conduct.  The period under which an animal is claimed as a “Trainee,” with requests for any leniency in regard to Standards of Work and Conduct, shall generally not be longer than six months, and may not exceed a period of one year.

Partner/Handler’s Responsibilities

Partner/Handlers are responsible to comply with all applicable animal welfare laws and municipal, county, and state statutes and regulations pertaining to animals in general and Service Animals.  The Partner/Handler is responsible for awareness of these applicable laws, codes, statues, and regulations.  Responsibilities of Partner/Handlers may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Vaccination requirements
  2. Licensing requirements and tags (tags must be worn on PCC sites, including identification of owner)
  3. Leash law compliance as applicable
  4. Proper health - the animal should be in good health, clean, free of disease, and free of fleas, ticks, and other pests that may pose a health threat to other animals or persons.  Animals that have a short-term illness should not be brought on PCC premises and interim supports may be requested from DSR.
  5. Cleanliness - Partner/Handlers must maintain animals in a clean state - Service Animals may not be ungroomed.  Normal seasonal shedding should be attended to with appropriate brushing.
  6. Avoidance of training or discipline methods that are deemed to be abusive by local, county, and/or state animal agencies and authorities.
  7. Proper care of the animal for the specific context, i.e. including, but not limited to: provision of water in a timely manner given the desert environment, protection through foot pads for hot asphalt or concrete, rain gear when needed, etc.
  8. Use of care and discretion when introducing animals to new or different environments, i.e. including but not limited to noisy areas; settings with large numbers of people; field trips; etc.  It is the Partner/Handler's responsibility to make responsible judgments about leaving the animal off-premises when it is in the best interest of the Service Animal and the public.
  9. Proper interactions with others - Partner/Handlers should exercise appropriate judgment and discretion in permitting interaction between their animal and other students or the public.  The Service Animal is considered to be ‘working,’ and subject to Behavioral Guidelines, at all times while on PCC premises. Petting and other forms of attention can be distractions. 
  10. Clean up - the Partner/Handler is responsible for cleaning up after the Service Animal following toileting unless the animal has used a designated toiletry area or is incapable as a result of the disability of doing so.  It is the responsibility of the Partner/Handler to carry all necessary equipment and supplies for clean up and to seal wastes for subsequent disposal or flushing.
  11. Ensuring that all aspects of the Standards of Work and Conduct can be met by the Service Animal.  This includes taking steps that may be necessary, including, but not limited to: participation in refresher training for animal AND Partner/Handler, muzzles, restraints, etc.

Exclusion of Animals Failing to Meet Service Animal Definition or for Failure to Comply with College Guidelines

Tests and Conditions
Determinations by personnel authorized under this regulation for exclusion of animals from wholesale or partial utilization of Service Animals from services, activities, or programs of the College shall be subject to one or more of the following tests and conditions:

  1. The animal does not meet the ADA definition of Service Animal; the Partner/Handler does not have a documented disability that qualifies under the ADA and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended; the animal is determined to be incapable of legitimately “doing work or to performing tasks” as claimed by the Partner/Handler; or tasks or work provided by an animal are inconsistent with limitations to major life activities as defined by law and represented by appropriate disability related documentation (for ongoing use by students and employees).
  2. The presence of the animal is legitimately and reasonably determined to constitute a potential or imminent “Direct Threat” to persons or other Service Animals.
  3. The presence of the animal is legitimately and reasonably determined to constitute a fundamental alteration to specific or multiple curricula, services, activities, or programs of the College.
  4. Clear and present hazards exist to the safety of the Service Animal in the specific environment of the service, activity, or program.
  5. The animal fails to comply with Standards of Work and Conduct as outlined in this SPG.
  6. The Partner/Handler fails to comply with responsibilities outlined in this SPG.

Violations and Removal
In the event a Service Animal or its Partner/Handler does not conform to the standards established by this SPG, the Service Animal shall be removed from College property and activities and may not be permitted to return.  In such cases, alternate forms of reasonable accommodation may be discussed with DSR Specialists (students and the public) or the unit supervisor (employees) if needed.

Mitigating circumstances will be taken into consideration if the animal has inadvertently been exposed to unexpected or unpredictable circumstances, including, but not limited to: purposeful harassment from students or other persons, aggressive behavior from other animals, emergency situations, etc.  Aggressive or 'Direct Threat' behaviors, or evidence of incorrigibility, may result in permanent exclusion.

Reinstatement of Service Animal for Utilization on College Premises
A Service Animal previously excluded from College property or activities may return only upon a showing of satisfactory evidence (i.e. appropriate documentation and/or demonstration) that there will be compliance with this SPG and any other applicable standards of conduct.  Satisfactory evidence could include proof of additional training or change of behavior. 


Disputes by Students or Members of the Public
A student or member of the public who wishes to dispute a determination about his or her proposed use of an animal for reasonable accommodation or the exclusion of that animal shall follow the procedures outlined in Sections 2.4 and 2.9 of SPG-1501/AD (ADA & Equal Opportunity, Reasonable Accommodation Guideline for Students). 

Disputes by Employees or Applicants
An employee who wishes to dispute a determination about his or her proposed use of an animal for reasonable accommodation or the exclusion of that animal shall follow the procedures outlined in Sections 1.3.5, 1.4.7, and 1.4.8 of SPG-1501/AC (ADA & Equal Opportunity, Reasonable Accommodation Guideline for Employees/Applicants).

Final Internal Authority
In matters of disputes related to decisions regarding undue hardship or direct threat, the Chancellor or designee, will provide final decisions as outlined in SPG-1501/AC, Reasonable Accommodation Guideline for Employee/Applicants, or SPG-1501/AD, Reasonable Accommodation Guideline for Students.

If a request for accommodation by a student or an employee who followed the appropriate SPG is denied based on the determination that the individual is not qualified under federal and/or state regulations or internal policy, the internal process is finalized.

Issues involving allegations of discrimination or harassment based on either the individual's disability or implementation of an accommodation for the individual will be processed through the College's internal discrimination complaint procedure as outlined in SPG-1501/AA, ADA & Equal Opportunity/Discrimination Complaint Procedure.

The AA/EEO & ADA Office has oversight and monitoring responsibility for these processes.


Students, employees and the general public requiring the use of service animals to remove barriers to access College facilities and programs will have a clear, defined process to follow, and be served in a consistent manner by College employees with responsibilities under this compliance obligation.