Last Revised: July 28, 2021

Refer Questions to: Campus Animals Accommodation Lead at assistance.animal@gallaudet.edu

I. INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this Policy is to set the guidelines, requirements, and procedures regarding the presence of animals at Gallaudet University. The Policy applies to all animals on University property, including with respect to any participation in programs or activities on the Gallaudet University campus, including programs and activities taking place in University housing.

The purpose of this Policy is to document the University’s approach to compliance with applicable federal and District of Columbia law, and the University’s binding obligations under this Policy shall not be construed to exceed the requirements of applicable law. The Policy shall be interpreted to comply with applicable law, and, in the event of any conflict between the Policy and applicable law, applicable law controls.

II. SCOPE

This Policy applies to students, employees, and visitors in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University.

III. STATEMENT OF POLICY

Gallaudet University prohibits animals on campus, with the exception of:

  1. Fish in a properly maintained aquarium no more than ten (10) gallons in size per Residence Life and Housing Policy (as it may be amended from time-to-time);
  2. Certain qualifying animals accompanying their Handler/Responsible Party onto or residing on University property in accordance with federal and District laws, and in certain other situations specified in and subject to this Policy.

This Policy outlines roles and responsibilities of employees, students, and visitors with regard to the following categories of qualifying animals outlined below:

  1. Service Animals;
  2. Service Animals in Training;
  3. Approved Emotional Support Animals;
  4. Approved, qualified Therapy Animals engaged in approved animal-assisted activities on campus;
  5. Law Enforcement Animals used for law enforcement or investigations; and
  6. Pets belonging to qualified University employees with mandatory residence on campus.

Under the terms of this Policy, Handlers/Responsible Parties with certain animals will generally be permitted in or be given appropriate access to designated areas of the Gallaudet University campus commensurate with the legal rights and protections afforded them by law and/or University policy.

IV. DEFINITIONS

  1. Campus Animal Accommodations Lead (CAAL) – The staff person responsible for providing information related to and facilitating animal-related reasonable accommodation processes defined by and consistent with this Policy. The University’s ADA Coordinator shall appoint the CAAL.
  2. Disability – A Disability, as defined under Title III of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The impairment may be permanent, chronic, or progressive. Disabilities interfere significantly with activities of daily living and may include but are not limited to physical disabilities (such as those affecting mobility), traumatic brain injuries, low vision or blindness, chronic health conditions, or disabling psychological conditions such as bipolar disorder. As an institution of higher education serving deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, Gallaudet University has, over the years, instituted numerous accommodations. The University has also implemented many technological and other enhancements to seek to achieve an accessible, barrier-free environment for its constituents. Additionally, the University will, upon request, attempt to make other reasonable accommodations wherever appropriate.
  3. Emotional Support Animal (ESA) – An animal whose sole function is to provide emotional support that is medically necessary to afford a person with a psychological Disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing. There must be an identifiable and direct relationship between the comfort the animal provides and the individual’s Disability-related need for the animal, as supported by a qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, or other licensed mental health professional. ESAs provide a Disability-related benefit to their Handler/Responsible Party through the provision of comfort, but are not necessarily trained to perform specific tasks to assist their Handler/Responsible Party. ESAs are not Service Animals, are not task-trained to assist their Handler/Responsible Party with activities of daily living, may not accompany their Handler/Responsible Party into public spaces on campus, and must be screened and approved for residence in the Handler/Responsible Party’s campus dwelling on a case-by-case basis as needed on the basis of Disability.
  4. Handler/Responsible Party – A person with a Service Animal, Emotional Support Animal, Service Animal in Training, Law Enforcement Animal, or Therapy Animal; additionally, a qualified, approved University employee with an approved Pet.
  5. Law Enforcement Animal – A canine officer on campus with professional handler for purposes of law enforcement and investigation activities.
  6. Pet – An animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. This Policy permits the approval only of pet dogs or cats and only for qualified University employees with mandatory residence on campus for work-related purposes.
  7. Public Facilities – Any University property, including buildings, grounds, and equipment controlled by the University, which is open to the public.
  8. Service Animal – A Service Animal is a dog or miniature horse 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. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks under the definition of a Service Animal. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered Service Animals. The work that a Service Animal has been trained to do must be directly related to the person’s Disability, including but not limited to:
    • Guiding individuals with low vision or blindness
    • Pulling a wheelchair
    • Retrieving and delivering items such as life-saving medication or the phone
    • Detecting and alerting disabled Handlers/Responsible Parties to the presence of allergens
  9. Service Animal in Training – A Service Animal in Training is an animal engaged in training to become a Service Animal under the oversight of a qualified or professional Handler/Responsible Party. Per ADA, Service Animals must be fully trained before they can be taken into public places. However, under District of Columbia ordinance § 7–1002, the University will grant the same access and liabilities to owners and trainers of Service Animals in Training as will be granted to Handlers with Service Animals.
  10. Therapy Animal - A Therapy Animal is typically a dog who accompanies its Handler/Responsible Party to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes by providing comfort and engagement through its presence. Therapy Animals are not Service Animals and their Handlers/Responsible Parties do not have public access rights granted to disabled Handlers/Responsible Parties of Service Animals.

V. SERVICE ANIMALS

A. UNIVERSITY OBLIGATIONS

Per ADA, disabled Handlers/Responsible Parties with Service Animals may be accompanied by their Service Animal in all areas of campus where the public is normally allowed to go. A person with a Disability cannot be asked to remove their Service Animal from the premises unless: 1) the animal is not housebroken; 2) the Service Animal’s presence fundamentally alters a University program, event, or classroom proceedings; 3) the Service Animal is beyond the control of its Handler/Responsible Party and the Handler/Responsible Party does not take effective action to control it; or 4) the Service Animal fundamentally constitutes a safety threat. In the event the University excludes a Service Animal, the Handler/Responsible Party will have the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the Service Animal present.

Where it is obvious that the animal is a Service Animal, the University shall not require any documentation for the animal, require that the animal demonstrate its tasks, or inquire about the nature of the person’s Disability. In situations where it is not obvious that an animal is a Service Animal, the University and its employees may ask:

  1. Is the animal a Service Animal required because of a Disability?
  2. What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?

The University may not and does not charge a fee in connection with use of a Service Animal, however the University also is not required to and does not provide care or food for any Service Animals. The Handler/Responsible Party must maintain all responsibilities for care and supervision of the service animal.

Etiquette around Service Animals and Their Handlers/Responsible Parties

The Gallaudet University Community:

  • Must allow Service Animals to accompany their owners at all times and everywhere on campus where the general public (if accompanying a visitor) or other students (if accompanying a student) are allowed, except for sites where there is a health, environmental, or safety hazard as outlined below.
  • May (if a Gallaudet University employee) ascertain that an animal is a Service Animal by asking (if not apparent) if the animal is required because of a Disability and what tasks it has been trained to perform.
  • Should NOT pet, touch, harass, deliberately startle, or otherwise distract a Service Animal when it is working. Doing so may interfere with its ability to perform its duties.
  • Should NOT feed a Service Animal. Their work depends on a regular and consistent feeding regimen that the owner is responsible to maintain.
  • Should NOT attempt to separate the Handler/Responsible Party from the Service Animal.
  • Should not permit other approved animals on campus to interfere with the Service Animal.
  • Should not fraudulently portray an animal as a Service Animal for purposes of gaining access to the campus or University housing unless the animal clearly meets the criteria in the ADA definition of a Service Animal.
  • May contact CAAL with any questions or concerns arising related to Service Animals or campus constituents with Service Animals, including reporting instances of animal abuse or negligence.

Restrictions on Service Animal Access

The University may prohibit or otherwise restrict the access of Handlers/Responsible Parties with Service Animals in certain University facilities due to health or safety restrictions or concerns, where the presence of a Service Animal may compromise the integrity of certain research, or otherwise fundamentally alter a program or activity or put the animal at risk. For example and without limitation, Service Animals may be excluded from certain of the following areas:

  • Food preparation areas;
  • Research laboratories (e.g. science laboratories with chemicals, etc.);
  • Mechanical rooms or custodial closets (e.g. boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, etc.);
  • Areas where personal protective clothing or equipment are necessary;
  • Areas where there is a danger to the Service Animal such as classrooms with wood/metal/machine equipment, where there are sharp metal cuttings or other sharp objects on the floor or protruding from a surface, where there is hot material on the floor (e.g. molten metal or glass as in some art studios or construction sites), where there is a high level of dust, where there are harmful chemicals or materials, or where there is moving machinery;
  • University pool and athletic facilities (e.g. Service Animals may be permitted poolside to perform necessary work or tasks for their Handler/Responsible Party, but may not enter the pool).

Others’ fear of Service Animal species and/or allergies are not valid reasons for denying access to Handlers/Responsible Parties with Service Animals. For example, when a Service Animal Handler/Responsible Party and person who is allergic to dog dander must spend time in the same room or facility, the University will attempt to accommodate both by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or facility.

Service Animals in the Workplace

University employees who require a Service Animal as a reasonable accommodation, as defined by the ADA, in a University office or other University facility not open to the general public, may bring their Service Animal to their place of employment if the animal’s work or tasks are necessary to afford the employee the equal opportunity to perform the functions of their job. The employee should register their Service Animal with CAAL in advance of the Service Animal being brought to campus or accessing the employee’s work setting.

B. HANDLER/RESPONSIBLE PARTY RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES

Pursuant to the ADA and in accordance with District of Columbia ordinance (2.5.1.), Service Animals must be firmly secured by a leash, tether, or harness, unless the Handler/Responsible Party is unable to use a tether because of their Disability or the use of a tether would interfere with the Service Animal’s ability to safely perform its work or tasks. In these cases, the Service Animal must be under the Handler/Responsible Party’s control through hand signals, vocalized commands, or other effective means. Service Animals are not permitted to run at-large on any streets, unenclosed lots, athletic fields, or premises within the boundaries of Gallaudet University.

Service Animals are subject to District of Columbia dog licensing and registration requirements; Handlers/Responsible Parties should maintain the necessary inoculations and/or vaccinations for their Service Animal as required by the District of Columbia for the duration of their tenure on campus and/or residence in University Housing.

Service Animals must be fully housebroken. Per District of Columbia ordinances, the Handler/Responsible Party of a Service Animal must collect and dispose of all animal waste in outdoor trash receptacles. Individuals with a Service Animal who are unable to do so for reasons related to their Disability must make arrangements to have their Service Animal’s waste appropriately disposed of. Animal waste is not to be disposed of in indoor trash receptacles.

The care and supervision of a Service Animal is the responsibility of the Service Animal’s Handler/Responsible Party, who bears full liability for any action of the Service Animal.

The ADA does not require Service Animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. However, Gallaudet University strongly recommends that Service Animals be identifiable by wearing an appropriately labeled vest or harness.

C. SERVICE ANIMALS IN UNIVERSITY HOUSING

Pursuant to qualifying criteria of the ADA, Handlers/Responsible Parties with Service Animals may access all Public Facilities on campus with the exception of areas where the Policy specifically prohibits Service Animals or in circumstances wherein the presence of the Service Animal would fundamentally alter the nature of events, programs, or activities on campus.

Students

Students with disabilities who require a Service Animal to use and enjoy University Housing may apply for a Service Animal Disability Accommodation to reside in University Housing through CAAL.

Visitors

Visitors with Service Animals wishing to stay in University housing facilities may apply for a Service Animal Disability Accommodation to reside in University Housing through CAAL.

Employees

Should a Gallaudet University employee be required to live on campus in University housing as a condition of employment, and should the Service Animal be necessary to afford them an equal opportunity to use or enjoy University housing, the employee may apply for a Service Animal Disability Accommodation to reside in University Housing through CAAL.

Procedure

In order to request a Disability-related housing accommodation involving a Service Animal, the Handler/Responsible Party should contact CAAL no less than 30 days prior to anticipated arrival, in order to permit time to gather all necessary documentation. Substantiating documentation will be required which satisfactorily attests to compliance with the specific requirements for animal licensing and vaccinations for the District of Columbia, as outlined in D.C. Code § 8-1804 for licenses and fees and § 8-1803 for vaccinations.

Approved accommodation requests involving Service Animals will be valid from the date of approval until the end of the Academic Year for which the accommodation approval is granted, contingent on compliance with District of Columbia licensing and vaccination requirements (D.C. Code §8-1804 for licenses and fees and §8-1803 for vaccinations) and on other legal and policy expectations. Approval extensions may be requested for summer months in between Spring and Fall academic semesters.

Conflicts and Appeals

University employees, students, or visitors who wish to appeal or request reconsideration of a decision regarding exclusion or denial of a Service Animal from campus must submit their request in writing to CAAL within 10 calendar days of the decision. CAAL shall review all information necessary to render a written response and may request of the complainant additional information and/or documentation; CAAL will issue a written response to the appeal or request for reconsideration within 10 calendar days.

An individual can appeal CAAL’s final determination to the ADA Coordinator by submitting a written appeal within 10 calendar days after receipt of CAAL’s final determination. If the ADA Coordinator for any reason of conflict of interest, illness, or prolonged absence is unable to carry out his or her responsibilities, a designee shall be appointed by the University Provost. The ADA Coordinator or appropriate designee will issue a written response to the appeal within 10 calendar days after receipt of the appeal. The ADA Coordinator or appropriate designee’s determination is final and not appealable.

University employees, students, or visitors with disabilities that are affected by the presence of animals should contact CAAL, which will conduct an equitable consideration of individual needs. The University will provide reasonable accommodations in accordance with applicable law.

D. SERVICE ANIMALS IN TRAINING

The above rules and guidelines applicable to Service Animals and their Handlers/Responsible Parties will apply equally to Service Animals in Training and their qualified Handlers/Responsible Parties. The presence of the Service Animal in Training may not interfere with the trainer’s responsibilities to the University.

VI. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) defines an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) as an animal that provides emotional support, well-being, or companionship that alleviates or mitigates symptoms of a person’s Disability; ESAs do not possess task training to qualify for consideration as Service Animals and are typically dogs or cats (although other domesticated species may be legally considered).

Students and University employees with Disability-related need who require the support of an ESA in order to use and enjoy University housing may apply for an accommodation to reside with their animal in assigned University housing. ESAs are generally not permitted in other areas of the University or on public University grounds (e.g., library, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, dining areas, athletic fields, etc.). Students may apply for an accommodation to allow ESAs to accompany them in areas other than University housing. CAAL will review these accommodation requests according to its normal procedures.

ESA dogs must be completely housebroken and are expected to respond to basic cues or commands from the Handlers/Responsible Parties in order to remain in control. For dogs, the use of “puppy pads” is not permitted.

Housing accommodations involving ESAs apply only to currently enrolled students and employed faculty or staff who reside in University housing. Individuals who are not current students or employees (e.g., day or overnight guests) must apply to CAAL if they wish to bring ESAs into University residence halls (permission from students or roommates is not sufficient).

A. ESA Accommodation Application Procedures

ESAs are not to be brought to campus prior to the University issuing written approval.

In order to request a Disability-related housing accommodation involving an ESA, the Handler/Responsible Party should contact CAAL no less than 30 days prior to arrival, in order to permit time to gather all necessary documentation.

Gallaudet University will then make an individualized assessment of each requested ESA under CAAL’s procedure for granting accommodations. Where it is not immediately obvious what Disability-related support the animal provides, Gallaudet University may require supporting documentation from the requester’s qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, or other licensed mental health professional. Additionally, substantiating documentation will be required which satisfactorily attests to compliance with the specific requirements for animal licensing and vaccinations for the District of Columbia, as outlined in D.C. Code §8-1804 for licenses and fees and §8-1803 for vaccinations. Additionally, the individualized assessment shall include a face-to-face meeting with the Handler/Responsible Party and their proposed animal prior to approval.

Handlers/Responsible Parties with approved ESAs must identify a person who could come to campus to remove the animal if needed within a reasonable amount of time. This person must be identified during the approval process.

Approved accommodation requests involving ESAs for students and employees will be valid from the date of approval until the end of the Academic Year for which the accommodation approval is granted, contingent on compliance with District of Columbia licensing and vaccination requirements (D.C. Code §8-1804 for licenses and fees and §8-1803 for vaccinations) and on other legal and policy expectations. Approval extensions may be requested for the summer months in between the Spring and Fall semesters, contingent on appropriate behavior of the animal and maintenance of all required vaccinations.

Reminder: Approved ESAs are generally not allowed anywhere on campus, outside of the approved residence hall, where animals are not normally allowed unless an accommodation has been granted. An ESA may be removed from campus if it is found in any other building on campus other than the Handler/Responsible Party’s residence hall and the Handler/Responsible Party does not have an approved accommodation.

B. Denial or Revocation of Approved ESA Accommodation

The University maintains the right to require that an ESA be removed from campus if it poses a threat to the health or safety of other persons, animals, or properties. ESAs should not be permitted to interfere with the work of Service Animals on campus. The process for handling disruptions to the community is as follows:

If a complaint is received, CAAL will conduct an assessment of the situation and the extent of impact to the community. CAAL will then make a judgment based on the totality of the circumstances regarding what (if any) corrective action is appropriate (e.g., switching rooms if there is availability on campus or that the animal will need to be removed from campus). Aggressive behavior (biting, snapping) will result in immediate removal of the animal from campus.

An ESA accommodation request may be denied or revoked if the ESA:

  1. Is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;
  2. Is not in compliance with District of Columbia licensing and vaccination requirements;
  3. Has a history of aggressive behavior towards humans or other animals;
  4. Would fundamentally alter University services through disruptive behavior;
  5. Imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden to accommodate;
  6. Is unnecessary to provide the requester an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing.

CAAL shall be ordinarily responsible for assessing and making such determinations about an ESA’s conduct on campus and within the Residence Halls (in the latter case, in conjunction where appropriate with the Director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing and the Dean of Student Affairs). CAAL may also consult the Department of Public Safety. For Clerc Center residents the decision-making process may also include the Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Academic Officer.

University employees, students, or visitors who wish to appeal or request reconsideration of a decision regarding exclusion or denial of an ESA must submit a request in writing to CAAL within 10 calendar days after the initial decision. CAAL shall review all information necessary to render a written response and may request of the complainant additional information and/or documentation; CAAL will issue a written response within 10 calendar days after receipt of the request.

An individual can appeal CAAL’s final determination to the ADA Coordinator by submitting a written appeal within 10 calendar days after receipt of CAAL’s final determination. If the ADA Coordinator for any reason of conflict of interest, illness, or prolonged absence is unable to carry out his or her responsibilities, a designee shall be appointed by the University Provost. The ADA Coordinator or appropriate designee will issue a written response to the appeal within 10 calendar days after receipt of the appeal. The ADA Coordinator or appropriate designee’s determination is final and not appealable.

VII. THERAPY ANIMALS

University departments and programs may request approval to have certified Therapy Animals brought to campus with their Handlers/Responsible Parties for approved animal-assisted activities on campus. These may include program-sponsored activities for research and service with a focus on beneficial aspects of human-animal interaction (i.e. stress reduction). All such requests should be directed to CAAL (assistance.animal@gallaudet.edu) no later than 60 days in advance of the anticipated date.

Therapy dog-handler teams must maintain current certification and insurance through an American Kennel Club-recognized professional Therapy Animal organization that provides training and maintains liability for the actions of the animal-handler team. The University maintains the right to establish appropriate and necessary conditions of approval. The University may prohibit or otherwise restrict the access of Handlers/Responsible Parties with Therapy Animals in certain University facilities due to health or safety restrictions or concerns.

Therapy Animals are not permitted to run at-large on any streets, unenclosed lots, athletic fields, or premises within the boundaries of Gallaudet University. Handlers/Responsible Parties must collect and dispose of all animal waste and dispose of that waste in outdoor trash receptacles.

In accordance with District of Columbia ordinance (2.5.1.), approved Therapy Animals brought to campus must be firmly secured by a leash, tether, or harness. All Therapy Animals must have current vaccinations required by the District of Columbia for the duration of their visit to campus.

The University maintains the right to approve or deny any request for Therapy Animals and to request a Therapy Animal be removed from campus at any time in the University’s sole discretion.

VIII. LAW ENFORCEMENT ANIMALS

Law Enforcement Animals are permitted on Gallaudet University grounds with their professional handlers for law enforcement and investigative purposes.

IX. PET (DOGS OR CATS)

Gallaudet University permits certain approved Pets to reside with their Handlers/Responsible Parties who are current University employees and required to live on campus to fulfill the terms of their job obligations. A Handler/Responsible Party must obtain prior written approval from the University before bringing a Pet to campus.

Dogs must be one year old at minimum, fully housebroken, and known to the owner for at least the previous six months. Owners may bring dogs outdoors on campus for purposes of toileting the dogs and are responsible for appropriate collection and disposal of waste in outdoor trash receptacles. Approved Pets are not permitted to run at-large on any streets, unenclosed lots, athletic fields, or premises within the boundaries of Gallaudet University. Handlers/Responsible Parties must collect and dispose of all animal waste and dispose of that waste in outdoor trash receptacles.

Cats must be one year old at minimum and fully litterbox trained.

Qualified employees wishing to apply for this arrangement may request up to one dog or two cats per dwelling on campus, pending approval of their senior administrator and CAAL.

Approval is contingent on maintenance of the necessary vaccinations for the dog or cat as well as the appropriate behavior of the animal, and is effective from the date of approval until the end of the Academic Year for which approval is granted.

In accordance with District of Columbia ordinance (2.5.1.), approved Pets residing with qualified employees must be firmly secured by a leash, tether, or harness at all times while out of the immediate dwelling. Approved Pets must have current vaccinations required by the District of Columbia for the duration of their visit to campus; owners must maintain a copy of the current D.C. Dog License and vaccinations on file with CAAL.

The University maintains the right to request an approved Pet be removed from campus if it poses a threat to the health or safety of other persons, animals, or properties. Pets should not be permitted to interfere with the work of Service Animals on campus.

Pet owners must identify a person who could come to campus to remove the animal if needed within a reasonable amount of time. This person must be identified during the approval process.

Furthermore, a request to reside on campus with a Pet may be denied or revoked if the Pet:

  1. Is not housebroken, litterbox trained, or able to live with others in a reasonable manner;
  2. Is not in compliance with District of Columbia licensing and vaccination requirements;
  3. Has a history of aggressive behavior towards humans or other animals;
  4. Would fundamentally alter University housing services through disruptive behavior;
  5. Imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden to accommodate, including being an inappropriate size or weight.

CAAL shall be ordinarily responsible for assessing and making such determinations about a Pet’s conduct on campus and within the Residence Halls (in the latter case, in conjunction where appropriate with the Director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing). CAAL may also consult the Department of Public Safety.

University employees who wish to appeal or request reconsideration of a decision regarding exclusion or denial of a Pet must submit a request in writing to CAAL within 10 calendar days after the initial decision. CAAL shall review all information necessary to render a written response and may request of the complainant additional information and/or documentation; CAAL will issue a written response within 10 calendar days after receipt of the request. CAAL’s determination is final.

X. CONTACT INFORMATION AND KEY DOCUMENTS

Contact information for the key decisionmakers under this Policy are as follows:

CAAL:


ADA Coordinator:


Key documents related to this Policy include:

  • Gallaudet University Service Animal Disability Accommodation Request Form for Campus Housing 2021-2022
  • Gallaudet Univerity Emotional Support Application for Campus Housing 2021-2022
  • D.C. Dog License Application