Emotional Support/Service Animals

Policy Name:  Emotional Support/Service Animals

Policy Number: STU-7006

Effective:  Legacy

Revised: Not applicable

Policy Statement

Emotional Support Animals/Service Animals/Therapy Animals

Holy Family University aims to foster a healthy and positive experience for all campus community members. The University provides reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with a documented disability in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Holy Family University accommodates persons with disabilities requiring the assistance of a qualified service or therapy animal. Students with disabilities who intend to seek accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which the request is made.  

For more information, contact: 

The Office of Disability Services 

9801 Frankford Avenue, Campus Center

Philadelphia, PA 19114-2094

267-341-3231

disabilityservices@holyfamily.edu

 

Definition: Service Animal

A service animal under the ADA is a dog (or miniature horse) that has been trained to work or perform tasks directly related to the person’s disability. “Work or perform tasks” means that the service animal takes a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability.

Responsibilities of the Student (handler) with the Service Animal

The service animal must be under the control of its handler. A harness, leash or other tether must be used unless the handler is unable because of the disability, to use a harness, leash or other tether or if the use of a harness, leash or other tether interferes with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of the work of task. In such cases, the service animal must remain under the handler’s control, such as voice control.

The student must provide total care and supervision of the service animal. The University is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision. The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose all animal waste, immediately. The animal must not be placed in a location blocking access for others. It is the handler’s responsibility to ensure that the service animal is in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations and other health regulations. 

Holy Family University may ask a student with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the student does not take effective action to control it or if the animal is not housebroken.

Documentation and Inquiries regarding Service Animals

The University is permitted to make the following inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

  • Is the animal required because of a disability
  • What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform

When it is not readily apparent the individual has a disability or an animal is a service animal, the University may require the student to submit documentation from the treating health care provider with the following information in order to make a determination:

  • The individual has a disability for which the animal is necessary
  • How the animal assists the person, including whether the animal has undergone any training
  • The relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides

Definition: Emotional Support or Therapy Animal

An “emotional support” or “therapy” animal provides comfort to a person with a disability which alleviates the disability but is not necessarily trained to do “work or perform tasks”.  While service animals are recognized under the Rehabilitation Act and ADA, the FHA provides a broader range of therapy or emotional support animals in campus housing.  Federal law does not give emotional support or therapy animals’ access to the campus as a whole.  While a college or university may be required to reasonably accommodate a therapy animal in a residence hall or campus apartment, the institution is not required to allow that student to bring the animal to other areas or building on campus. A therapy or emotional support animal does not have access to common space within the residence halls, the animal only has access to the specific sleeping area of the owner. The specific therapy animal must be in accordance with allowed animals under Pennsylvania Law, regarding dangerous and exotic animals. 

Documentation and Inquiries for Emotional Support and Therapy Animals

Students requesting an emotional support or therapy animal as a reasonable accommodation under FHA must submit documentation from their licensed health care provider. Determination is made on an individual basis. The documentation must contain the following information, from a licensed provider:

  • The specific disability of the individual.
  • The reason(s) the animal is necessary to afford the individual and equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling and the assistance the animal provides.
  • That there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

Responsibilities of the Student with the Emotional Support or Therapy Animal

The student is responsible for the care and supervision of the emotional support or therapy animal. The University is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision. The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal’s waste, while on campus. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the animal is an animal in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State Laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations and other health regulations.  

             

Student Responsibilities

All granted requests may be revoked if a student with an emotional support or therapy animal does not follow the standards of behavior listed below:

  • The owner is responsible for assuring that the approved animal does not interfere with the routine activities of the residence.
  • The owner is financially responsible for the actions of the approved animal, including bodily injury or property damage. The owner is expected to cover the costs associated with property damage.
  • The owner’s residence may be inspected for fleas and/or other pests in accordance with residence life policy. In addition, the owner’s residence may be inspected for fleas, and or other pests on an as needed basis, if concerns arise. The owner will be billed for any pest treatment above standard pest management.
  • Emotional support or therapy animals must remain in the student’s residential sleeping area at all times and are not permitted to be in any common space.
  • When “out for normal care” the animal must remain on the least or harness. Animals are not permitted on University property other than the residence hall. Cleanup of all animal waste must be done immediately and with proper disposal practices.
  • Owners are responsible for daily care, food and water.
  • Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others by barking continuously, growling, scratching, etc.
  • Residents in the possession of emotional support or therapy animals must take the proper precautions to ensure that other residents and
  • Residence Life Staff are not harmed from the animal. Any animal that threatens or injures another person on campus will be subject to removal. The owner of an animal that injures another person on campus is liable for the actions of the animal.  Holy Family University bears no responsibility in this liability.
  • The owner must keep a sign on the door that notifies others that an animal resides in the room and that individuals entering must use caution.
  • Animals must be taken with student if they leave for overnight. No animal may be left with another on-campus resident, regardless if they have also received approval for an assistance animal. All emotional support and therapy animals’ requests apply only to the animal for which a student has been approved.
  • The owner agrees to continue to abide by all residential policies.
  • Should the approved animal be removed, the student is expected to fulfill their housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

The owner must notify the Office of Disability Services in writing if the approved animal is no longer needed as an approved animal or is no longer in residence.  To replace an approved animal, the student must submit a new request.

Holy Family University may ask a student with a disability to remove an emotional support or therapy animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the student does not take effective action to control it or if the animal is not housebroken.

Required Forms

If a request is granted, the student must sign certain forms, regarding the outlined rules and procedures. The student must also provide a copy of all required immunization records, licenses for the animal, a veterinarian report that the animal (if applicable) has been spayed or neutered and a certificate that the animal is healthy and free from any signs of infection or contagious disease, parasites, etc.

Grievance Procedure

Students who wish to appeal a denied request for use of an emotional support or therapy animal or service animal should refer to procedures related to Section 504/ADA and the appropriate Coordinator.

Removal of Animal

Service animals, emotional support or therapy animals may be removed from the residence halls for the following reasons:

  • If an animal is considered a direct and substantial threat to the health and safety of individuals or itself, animal control will be summoned to remove the animal immediately. This may occur as the result of a very ill animal, a substantial lack of cleanliness of the animal, animal found to be left alone for an extended period of time, or the presence of an animal in a sensitive area like mechanical or industrial areas.
  • Animals and animal owners who do not follow the standards of behavior are subject to disciplinary action and/or removal of the animal from University Housing.

 

Animal Allergic Response

Some students may have an allergic reaction to animals that are substantial enough to qualify as a disability. The University will consider the needs of both persons in meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities and to resolve the problem as efficiently and as timely as possible. Any student requesting allergy accommodations must contact the Office of Disability Services.

Etiquette towards service, emotional support or therapy animals on campus

  • Do not touch the animal without asking permission first. This is a distraction and may prevent the animal from tending to the human partner.
  • Do not feed the animal.
  • Speak to the person, not the assistance animal. Most handlers do not mind talking about assistance animals if they have the time.
  • Do not startle the animal.
  • Never make assumptions about the individual’s intelligence, feelings or capabilities.

Offers of help are appreciated, but ask first. 

  • Always approach an animal calmly.
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate an owner from their animal.