Last Revised: 8 November 2010

Refer Questions to: Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Orientation Programs


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


Gallaudet University does not permit pets anywhere on campus. Only qualified, individually-trained service animals that strictly meet the below requirements are permitted on campus.

At Gallaudet University, Service Animal means 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 service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

Except for service animals and fish in a properly maintained aquarium no more than ten (10) gallons in size, no other animals are allowed in the residence halls. The limit to the number of aquariums per room is set at one aquarium per resident. The only animal permitted to be in aquariums are fish (not frogs, water frogs, lizards, or other amphibians).

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 facilitate a fully accessible, barrier-free environment for its constituents. Additionally, the University will, upon request, attempt to make other reasonable accommodations wherever appropriate.

More detailed information about Gallaudet University's Reasonable Accommodation Policy (#1.10) can be found in the Administration & Operations Manual.

Requirements for Students and Employees

Owners of service animals must formally register the animal with the Service Animal Evaluator at least thirty (30) days prior to arriving on campus to allow for processing and clearance. To register service animals, owners are required to: 1) submit disability determination documentation that supports a service animal as an appropriate accommodation for the individual seeking to register the animal, 2) provide evidence of up-to-date vaccinations in compliance with the District of Columbia law that is common for the type of animal at the time of registration, and, 3) provide evidence of DC licensure. Evidence of up-to-date vaccinations and District of Columbia licensure must be submitted to the Service Animal Evaluator annually.

Additionally, an interactive process will be utilized to determine if the animal meets the University’s service animal definition and to ensure that the animal has been appropriately trained at the time of registration. Further, owners of service animals are required to obtain a Gallaudet University-issued service animal tag and ID card from the Department of Public Safety. The ID tag which identifies the animal and its owner(s) must be attached to the service animal’s collar at all times.

Owners of service animals that meet Gallaudet University’s service animal definition are also required to enter into a behavioral contract for the animal. Accordingly, owners of service animals are required to review, sign, and comply with a behavior contract.

Requirements for Off Campus Faculty, Staff and Students

Faculty, staff and student service animal owners who reside off-campus are required to register the animal with the Service Animal Evaluator, submit appropriate documentation with regard to immunizations and vaccines and District of Columbia licensure, and secure appropriate Gallaudet University-issued identification for the animal, preferably within five (5) days of the beginning of the semester, summer school, or the date of employment.

Requirements for Visitors

Visitors are defined to as individuals who are not faculty, staff or students and who visit the campus for a period of one to seven days. Such visitors with service animals may bring their service animals on campus without formally registering the animals, but are responsible for ensuring that their service animal has up-to-date immunizations and vaccines in compliance with District of Columbia vaccination requirements at the time of their campus visits. Additionally, overnight guests with service animals visiting residence halls are required to secure permission from all occupants of the room(s) they are visiting as well as the Office of Residence Life/Housing.

Owner Responsibilities

Service animals must be kept under control at all times and on a leash in public areas (exceptions to the leash requirement would be in those instances where the animal must perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of the restraint, or the person is unable to maintain the animal on a leash due to a disability). The owner is responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and the proper disposal of all animal waste. Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas.

Individuals with disabilities who cannot physically remove service animal waste need to make the necessary arrangements for assistance. The University is not responsible for these services. The owner is responsible for protecting University property from damage by the service animal, and any damage beyond typical use will be the financial responsibility of the owner. A service animal may be excluded from the campus if the animal poses a direct threat to the health and/or safety of others, consistently deviates from the behavior contract, if the service animal's owner does not abide by the standards stipulated in the behavior contract or if the conduct of the service animal interferes with the educational process.

Employees and students are limited to registering one service animal per owner. In addition, supervision of service animals are explicitly the sole responsibility of the owner(s) and cannot be transferred to other individuals except in instances when the owner is ill or otherwise indisposed and consequently, is temporarily unable to perform supervisory responsibilities.

Service animals must be on a leash at all times when outside of a residential room (see exceptions to leash requirement above).

University Housing

The University requires that service animals that are left in the residence halls unattended be crated or appropriately restrained to ensure the safety of facilities and residence hall employees who may need to enter the room (e.g., for emergency or maintenance purposes) while owners are absent.

It should be noted that service animals are not permitted in private residences, residence hall rooms, or apartments on campus without the express permission of the occupant(s).

Individuals who seek to reside on campus with their service animals are expected to make all necessary arrangements with the Service Animal Evaluator, Residence Life and the Department of Public Safety at least 30 days prior to arriving on campus. Exceptions may be granted contingent upon the circumstances.

Dispute Resolution Procedures

The University follows all applicable laws and regulations to protect the health and safety of the campus community and those animals which it permits on campus. Any individual who believes he/she is denied reasonable accommodation of a service animal, after following appropriate procedures outlined in this policy, may seek the assistance of the Director of Equal Opportunity Programs. The Office of the Ombuds is also available as an informal, independent, neutral and confidential conflict management resource.

Concerns about the use of service animals on campus, including safety concerns, may also be brought to the attention of the Service Animal Evaluator, the Department of Public Safety, and the Director of Residence Life. Persons determined to be in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action through the Department of Public Safety (faculty, staff and visitors), Residential Life and the Office of Student Conduct (students).

Approved by: Gallaudet University Administration