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FAQs: Service and Support Animals at Stanford

1. Will I need to provide documentation of my need for a support animal as an accommodation?

2. Are there restrictions regarding where I can bring my service or support animal?

3. Can a service or support animal be removed from a location and/or situation?

4. What if my service or support animal is denied access to a specific location or if I feel like I am being treated unfairly due to the need for an animal?

5. Are staff, faculty or students allowed to ask an individual about their need for a service or support animal?

6. What should university personnel do if a service or support animal is being disruptive?

7. What if I have a severe allergy and/or condition related to animals and there is an animal in my class, residence and/or work area?

8. Are service animals required to wear some sort of identification, have a license or be able to demonstrate that they have been trained?

9. What can I do if I observe an owner not following university guidelines with respect to a service or support animal on campus?

10. What suggestions can you offer when interacting with a service or support animal and their owner?

 

1. Will I need to provide documentation of my need for a support animal as an accommodation?

Yes, if you are a student requesting a support animal as a housing accommodation, you will be asked by the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) to provide specific documentation from your healthcare provider. Contact the OAE to obtain the documentation requirements. Likewise, staff and faculty requesting a support animal as a workplace accommodation will need to speak with their supervisor and/or human resources manager regarding documentation.

2. Are there restrictions regarding where I can bring my service or support animal?

Generally, service animals are allowed anywhere on campus that their owner is permitted. A support animal is only permitted, in the case of a housing accommodation, in the student's residential unit. Employees with approved support animals are also allowed to bring their support animal to their office and/or workstation.

Support animals are not permitted in the following areas:

  • Dining facilities;
  • Lounges, courtyards, study rooms, libraries, classrooms, auditoriums;
  • Labs, conference rooms, and other common use areas of a workplace.

3. Can a service or support animal be removed from a location and/or situation?

Yes, a service animal and a support animal may be removed if it is determined by a University administrator that the animal's behavior or presence of the animal poses an unreasonable threat to the health or safety of others, including aggressive behavior, the animal's presence results in a fundamental alteration of the University's program and/or the owner does not comply with the Owner's Responsibilities in University Housing Agreement.

Examples of behaviors and/or situations in which it may be determined that the animal needs to be removed include the following:

  • Excessive noise
  • The animal is not leashed or harnessed, or when off leash, performing work or a task is not under voice command
  • Making unwanted contact with others, growling, biting or threatening
  • The animal is unreasonably dirty
  • The animal’s safety is compromised

4. What if my service or support animal is denied access to a specific location or if I feel like I am being treated unfairly due to the need for an animal?

If you believe that your service or support animal should receive access to a location where access has been limited, revoked, or prohibited by the University, you should contact the Diversity & Access Office for assistance. Likewise, contact the Diversity & Access Office for issues related to unfair treatment due to the need for a service or support animal.

5. Are staff, faculty or students allowed to ask an individual about their need for a service or support animal??

Staff, faculty and students should refrain from inquiring about an individual’s disability, requesting medical documentation, requiring identification or training documentation for the animal, or asking that the service animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task they are trained to perform.

  1.  If the animal is required because of a disability and;
  2.  The work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

As noted above, support animals are restricted to certain areas and prior approval by designated University administrators is required. If you have a concern or need to inquire about a student who is using a service or support Animal contact the OAE. Concerns and inquiries regarding faculty, staff, and/or visitors should be directed to the Diversity & Access Office.

6. What should university personnel do if a service or support nimal is being disruptive?

University personnel should attempt to address their concern directly with the owner. If the owner is unable to control the animal, you can ask the owner to remove the animal from the situation, but remind the owner that they can return. Best practices should include contacting the OAE if the issue involves a student, and the Diversity & Access Office if the issue involves an employee or visitor.

7. What if I have a severe allergy and/or condition related to animals and there is an animal in my class, residence and/or work area?

Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, substantial allergies, PTSD) should contact the OAE, provide medical documentation that identifies the condition(s) as a disability, and request accommodations. Staff and/or faculty should inform their supervisor and/or human resources manager and request a workplace accommodation.

8. Are service animals required to wear some sort of identification, have a license or be able to demonstrate that they have been trained?

No, while some service animals and/or support animals may wear special collars, harnesses or vests/jackets there are no requirements to do so. Likewise, while owners may present licenses or certifications for their animals there are no requirements nor does this indicate that the animal is approved and/or registered for use as an accommodation. Finally, the owner does not have to demonstrate the task the animal has been trained to perform.

9. What can I do if I observe an owner not following university guidelines with respect to a service or support animal on campus?

Report non-emergent student residence related issues to Housing Front Desk, Residential Education (undergraduate students) or the Graduate Life Office (graduate students). All other issues in administrative buildings, outdoor facilities etc. should be reported to the Diversity & Access Office .

10. What suggestions can you offer when interacting with a service or support animal and their owner?

Remember that service animals are working animals. Please refrain from petting or distracting working animals. It is fine to ask the Owner if they need assistance if there seems to be confusion, particularly with guide dogs. Additional suggestions include:

  • Do not play with, pick up or hold the animal.
  • Do not feed the animal as it may have specific dietary restrictions.
  • Do not deliberately startle the animal.
  • Do not separate, or attempt to separate the handler from the service or support Animal.
  • Do not ask questions about the individual’s disability, or need for a service or support animal.
  • Do not be offended if the individual doesn’t want to talk about the animal or denies you permission to touch it.
  • Allow a service animal to accompany the owner at all times anywhere on campus. If you have concerns about access, you can report your concern to the Diversity & Access Office .