Procedure 8.08.01 - Service Animals


Introduction

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and state law, Southeastern Community College may be required to accommodate an otherwise qualified individual with a disability by making reasonable accommodations in its services, programs, or activities. The college acknowledges the health and safety interests of its general community. Students who wish to use a service animal or a service animal in training on campus and/or in the classroom must adhere to the following procedures. This regulation addresses the use of service animals on campus by qualified individuals with disabilities. Pets and therapy animals are not considered service animals and therefore are not covered by this regulation.

Definitions

Service animal is defined as any dog or miniature horse 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. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. Examples of 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. If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal for purposes of this regulation even if it has not been licensed or certified by a state or local government, or by a private agency. Special consideration will be given to determine whether reasonable accommodations in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse that serves as a service animal into a specific facility.

Pet is defined as a domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship.

Therapy animal is defined as an animal with good temperament and disposition, and who has reliable, predictable behavior, selected to accompany people with disabilities. The animal may be incorporated as an integral part of a treatment process. A therapy animal does not assist an individual with a disability in the activities of daily living. The therapy animal does not accompany a person with a disability at all times, unlike a service animal that is always with a person with a disability. A therapy animal is not considered to be a service animal under this regulation or other disability law.

Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of an individual.

Visitor is defined as a person other than a student, faculty member, or employee of Southeastern Community College who is a guest on campus and/or who participates in a college program, service, or activity.
 

 

Responsibilities of Persons Using Service Animals

The care and supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the person using the animal’s services (hereinafter “owner”). The owner must ensure that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated against diseases common to that type of animal as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. For example, animals should have routine maintenance for flea and tick prevention, de-worming, and have annual examinations.

Animals must wear a rabies tag. [NC Rabies Law-N.C. Gen. Stat. § 130A-185] If an animal other than a dog is to be used as a service animal, the disability counselor must approve the health requirements regarding that animal. The owner must comply with the Columbus County ordinance requiring that all animals be licensed.

The owner must keep the service animal on a leash/lead when the animal is in a public area (i.e. classroom, library, outdoors on campus, etc.), unless the service animal is required to perform a task that it could not accomplish while on a leash/lead or the owner is otherwise unable to maintain the animal on a leash/lead due to a disability; in such case the owner still must be able to maintain control over the animal. The owner does not need to keep the service animal on a leash/lead in private areas assigned to the owner (e.g., the owner’s office) or private areas assigned to a third party if the third party consents to the animal being off leash/lead.

The owner must be in full control of the animal at all times.

The owner is responsible for ensuring the service animal does not pose a danger to the health and safety of others or cause undue burden.

The owner of the service animal must clean up after the animal. An appropriate area will be designated for the animal.

The owner is responsible for the cost to repair any damage done by the service animal to college property.

Any student who violates any provision of this regulation is subject to discipline under the Student Code of Conduct. Such discipline may include the restriction or removal of the service animal.

Responsibilities of the College Community

Members of the college community shall allow a service animal to accompany the owner at all times and everywhere on campus except where specified below; not touch or feed a service animal unless invited to do so; not deliberately startle an animal; and not separate nor attempt to separate a service animal from its owner.

In emergency situations, members of the college community shall notify all safety and security personnel of the existence and possible location of service animals on campus; identify places where service animals will be dealt with in cases of emergencies; and provide training to safety and security personnel as to possible service animal responses to smoke, fire, wind, excessive rain, hail or flooding, noise, explosions, and similar emergency situations.

Areas Restricted to Service Animals

The college may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions, where service animals may be dangerous to itself or others. Such restricted locations include, but are not limited to, food preparation areas, mechanical rooms/custodial closets, wood/metal/machine shops, areas where protective clothing is necessary, and/or other areas where the animal’s presence may constitute a danger to others or a fundamental alteration of the program or activity conducted in the area. Access to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative and the disability counselor. The college will pursue an interactive process to determine whether or not admission of the service animal will be granted or denied. The person directing the work in the restricted area will make the final decision regarding access based on the nature of the activities occurring in the area and in the best interest of the animal.

Removal of Service Animals

The college has the authority to remove a service animal from its grounds or facilities if the service animal becomes unruly or disruptive, unclean, and/or unhealthy to the extent that the animal’s behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, if the animal is not housebroken, or if the animal otherwise causes a fundamental alteration in the college’s services, programs, or activities. If such behavior or condition persists, the owner may be directed not to bring the animal into public campus areas until the problem is rectified.  If the college properly removes a service animal, it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

Conflicting Disabilities

If another person on campus has a covered disability under the ADA, including an allergic reaction to animals, and that person has contact with a service animal approved for presence on campus, a request for assistance will be made to the disability counselor who will consider all facts surrounding the contact and make an effort to resolve the issue.

Visitors

Service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public, except in situations determined to apply above. Specific questions related to the use of service animals at Southeastern Community College by visitors can be directed to the disability counselor.

Service Animals in Training

Service animals in training may be admitted to facilities open to the public. Service animals in training must wear a harness or collar and leash or special cape, and the trainer must present credentials for the dog issued by a school for dog training.  A student who is training a service dog himself or herself must contact the disability counselor prior to bringing the dog on campus. Approval will be given on a case by case basis.