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Service Animals For Persons With Disabilities

Administrative Procedure 3.904

Related Administrative Procedures: 3.501 – Individuals with Disabilities

Elgin Community College (ECC) complies with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) revised regulations for Title II (state and local government) and Title III (places of public accommodation), revised as of September 15, 2010, regarding service animals for persons with disabilities. . For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA.

A service animal is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. The work or task that the animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. Examples of such work or tasks include, but are not limited to, guiding a person who is blind, alerting a person who is deaf, pulling a wheelchair for a person, alerting and protecting a person who is experiencing a seizure, reminding a person with a psychological disability to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety episode or performing other duties.

Under the ADA, only dogs and miniature horses are considered to be service animals.

Under the ADA, the following are NOT considered to be service animals:

  1. Animals that are not dogs or miniature horses; and
  2. Emotional support animals, therapy animals, comfort pets or companion animals.*

Requirements of Handlers of Service Animals:

As a handler, any person with a disability who has a service animal - student, employee or visitor to the college - is required to follow these regulations, in accordance with the ADA:

  • The service animal must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the person's disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the person must maintain control of the service animal through voice, signal or other effective controls. The service animal will be allowed in all areas of the facility where the public is allowed, unless the animal poses a direct threat, fundamentally alters the nature of the program, is not housebroken or is not under the control of the person with the disability. The person can be told to remove the service animal if: (1) the animal is out of control and the person does not take effective action to control it or (2) the animal is not housebroken.
  • A person with a disability who has a service animal is responsible for taking care of the animal, ensuring that the animal is taken outside to relieve itself and disposing of waste material appropriately.

The service animal must have all vaccinations required by its city/county, and the rabies inoculation tag needs to be displayed. In the event that there are concerns for health/safety standards, such as labs where chemicals or foods are present or where sterile environments are critical, an assessment of where the animal may be located will be determined by the director of ADA and student disabilities services with input from the appropriate department.

Requirements of ECC Employees:

While ECC employees cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the service animal or ask that the service animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task, they may ask:

  • "Is the animal required because of a disability?" and/or
  • "What task(s) or work is your animal trained to perform?"

The service animal is not required to wear anything indicating that it is a service animal, nor does the person have to possess identification, certification, licensure, or paperwork for the animal.

Service animals are working animals, not pets; therefore, these animals are not to be petted, called to, fed or interfered with by any employees, students or community members.

Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA, but ECC will entertain the presence of such animals if the person presents a reasonable request and assurances of compliance with the rest of this procedure, namely, care and responsibility for the animal. ECC is under no obligation to allow this, so each case will be judged on individual merit. Persons who request permission to bring a comfort or emotional support animal to ECC should contact the Student Disabilities Services office, and employees and visitors who request permission to bring comfort or emotional support animal to ECC should contact the Human Resources office. The Student Access & Disability Services or Human Resources professionals will engage in an interactive process with the person and review documentation on the person’s disability, how the animal assists the person, and the relationship between the person’s disability and the assistance that the animal provides to the person..