Service Animals

Service Animal Procedures

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. 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 person’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.

According to the Georgia statute amended on July 1, 2007

  • (a)  Blind persons, persons with visual disabilities, persons with physical disabilities, and deaf persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges on all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, streetcars, boats, or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation and at hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.
  • (b)
    • (1)  Every totally or partially blind person shall have the right to be accompanied by a guide dog, and every physically disabled person and every deaf person shall have the right to be accompanied by a service dog, especially trained for the purpose, in any of the places listed in subsection (a) of this Code section without being required to pay an extra charge for the guide or service dog; provided, however, that he or she shall be liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by such dog. In addition, if such totally or partially blind person, physically disabled person, or deaf person is a student at a private or public school in this state, such person shall have the right to be accompanied by a guide dog or service dog subject to liability for damage as provided in the preceding sentence. The guide dog or service dog must be identified as having been trained by a school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs.
    • (2)  Every person engaged in the training of a guide dog or service dog for the purpose of accompanying a person as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall have the same right to be accompanied by such dog being trained as the totally or partially blind person, deaf person, or physically disabled person has under paragraph (1) of this subsection, so long as such trainer is identified as an agent or employee of a school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs.
    • (3)  Every person engaged in the raising of a dog for training as a guide dog or service dog for the purpose of accompanying a person as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall have the same right to be accompanied by such dog being raised for training as the totally or partially blind person, deaf person, or physically disabled person has under paragraph (1) of this subsection, so long as:
      • (A)  Such dog is being held on a leash and is under the control of the person raising such dog for an accredited school for seeing eye, hearing, service, or guide dogs;
      • (B)  Such person has on his or her person and available for inspection credentials from the accredited school for which the dog is being raised; and
      • (C)  Such dog is wearing a collar, leash, or other appropriate apparel or device that identifies such dog with the accredited school for which such dog is being raised. {OCGA 30-4-2}


Service Animals in University Housing
If living in the residence halls, the student is responsible for contacting the Executive Director of University Housing to inquire about Housing policies for service animals.

Standards for Service Animals
All service animals must comply with applicable laws regarding animals and their treatment and care.

Where are Service Animals Allowed?
Under the ADA, state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control
Under the ADA, service animals 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.

Miniature Horse
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. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (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. https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals
https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff 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. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Any violation to Georgia College policies will be reviewed through the Georgia College judicial process and the resident will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.

 

Policy reviewed 2.9.18