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Service Animals

Based on the American with Disabilities Act, a service animal is 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 considered to be service animals. 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 nonviolent 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 individuals 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 generally do not constitute work or tasks and as such do not meet the definition of a service animal.

Emotional Support Animals

While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Even though some states have laws defining therapy animals, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals. Therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. More>>

Upper Iowa University, in compliance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and University Policy, may allow Emotional Support Animals as a reasonable accommodation in residence hall rooms of students with documented disabilities. While Emotional Support Animals are permitted in University residence hall rooms, apartments and houses, they are prohibited from public areas, such as dining centers, classrooms, computer labs and other University property.

Students with Emotional Support Animals will be responsible for the ownership of the animal, including maintaining and controlling the animal at all times. Students may be responsible for any cost associated with damages the animal causes to campus property or other persons.

It is important that you, as the student requesting an Emotional Support Animal, complete the Request for Accommodations form to the best of your ability and return the application to the Student Accessibility Services office along with documentation from a physician or licensed mental health professional supporting your need for this particular accommodation. The supportive documentation:

  • Verifies that you meet FHA’s definition of a person with a disability
  • Describes how the animal will assist you
  • Shows the relationship between your disability and the need for assistance

Additionally, Emotional Support Animals must have a valid license and current vaccinations on file with the Student Accessibility Services office.

Please note that eligibility for accommodations will not be determined until a completed Request for Accommodations form and required documentation are on file at the Student Accessibility Services office.

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals

May I bring a service animal onto a Upper Iowa University building in Fayette or at any U.S. center?

Yes. UIU welcomes service animals at any location available to the general public. Concerns about safety in a particular program of study will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

My dog is not a service animal because it has not been trained to perform a task, but does provide emotional support. May I bring my emotional support dog onto any building in Fayette or at any U.S. center?

No. Under the ADA, your dog would not meet the definition of a service animal because it has not been trained to perform a task and therefore would not be allowed on campus. Review the Upper Iowa University Student Accessibility Services Handbook for more information.​​

Am I required to register my service animal with the Student Accessibility Services office and provide a letter to my instructors?

No. You and your service animal are not required to register with Student Accessibility Services unless you would like to receive other accommodations.

Are there any other ADA requirements regarding service animals that I should know?

Yes. The service animal must be under the owner’s control at all times. The ADA does allow for entities to ask a person with a disability to remove the service animal “if the service animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; or if the animal is not housebroken” [Title II ADA § 35.136 (b, d) Service animals].

Do I need to provide paperwork to show that my dog is trained?

No. UIU staff and faculty may not ask about the person’s specific 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.