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Emotional Support Animals

Service Animals on Campus

Disability-identified individuals may bring their service animal to campus and may go anywhere that members of the public or participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. A service animal is any 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.

No other animal other than a dog (or in rare cases, a miniature horse) are considered to be service animals. The work or task performed must be directly related to the individual’s impairment. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to: navigation assistance for low vision; alerts for people, objects, alarms for hearing impairments; pulling a wheelchair; or providing stability or balance.

Federal law does not require documentation for training. The University may, however, ask two questions if the need for the service dog is not readily apparent: [24 C.F.R. 136]

  1. Is this dog required for a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Service dogs may be excluded from the premises for the following:

  • The dog is disruptive and not effectively controlled by the handler
  • The presence of the service dog would fundamentally change the nature of the service, job, or activity
  • The service dog behavior poses a direct threat to property or health and safety of others
  • The dog is not housebroken

When circumstances require evaluation of the presence of a service dog, Services to Students with Disabilities will use the following criteria:

  1. The student requiring the dog has a disability and the dog is trained to perform specific tasks related to the student’s impairment or;
  2. The dog is a licensed and trained service dog in training

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service dog on campus. Individuals are responsible for:

  • The well-being of a service dog as well as the cost of any damages as a result of the service dog;
  • The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste;
  • The control of the animal at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from service dogs. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the individual is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation;
  • Harnessing, leashing, or tethering the service dog, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks;
  • Following all requirements for the presence of animals in public places mandated by State or local ordinances (vaccination, licensure, animal health, leash).

Under California law, it is a misdemeanor to knowingly and fraudulently represent oneself as the owner or trainer of a dog licensed as a guide, signal or service dog.

Assistance Animals (ESA) in Housing and Residential Education

Assistance, therapy, support or comfort animals are not Service Dogs, and as such, are not recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Federal housing laws do allow for an assistance animal in Housing and Residential Engagement if 1) the student has a diagnosed mental health disability 2) there is an identifiable relationship between the impairment and the assistance the animal provides.

Services to Students with Disabilities, in partnership with Housing and Residential Education, will determine on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether the animal is a reasonable accommodation in Housing. Students will follow the steps below to apply for an assistance animal:

  1. Register with Services to Students with Disabilities here.
  2. Obtain documentation from a current mental health care provider. (See form) Letters or certificates purchased online will most likely not be accepted as valid documentation.
  3. Meet with an SSD disability specialist to discuss documentation and need for the animal.
  4. If approved, receive a referral to continue the approval process with Housing and Residential Education.

It is recommended that students begin the application process for an assistance animal well before the lease cycle begins to ensure available placement.

Assistance animals are only allowed in and around Housing. Assistance animals may be removed from Housing and Residential Education for some, but not all of the following:

  1. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes substantial property damage to the property of others;
  2. The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of a University program;
  3. The Owner does not comply with the lease addendum; or
  4. The animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the Housing community.

Please see the CSU Policy on Service and Emotional Support Animals for Students on Campus for more information on documentation and other guidelines.