service animals graphic

Service Animals:

  • Required because of a disability
  • Trained to perform a task
  • Allowed in academic buildings
  • Not required to be registered
assistance animals graphic

Assistance Animals:

  • Requested for emotional support
  • Not trained to perform a task
  • Not allowed in academic buildings (Residence halls only)
  • Must be registered with University Student Housing and DSS

What’s the difference between a service animal and an assistance animal?

Service Animals

A service animal is defined in Title II: Section 35.104 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a 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. Service animals are allowed in public places because of the owner's need for the animal at all times.

Examples of such work or tasks include but are not limited to:

  • guiding people who are blind or have low vision with navigation
  • alerting people who are deaf to the presence of people or sounds
  • pulling a wheelchair or providing stability for a mobility impairment
  • alerting an individual of a seizure, change in blood sugar, or an allergen

Assistance Animals

The revised 2010 ADA regulations specify that "the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks," so these animals are not considered service animals. An assistance animal is an animal prescribed by a medical provider to ameliorate identified symptoms of an individual's disability. The function of an assistance animal may be entirely passive with the sole role being present. The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) and Housing and Urban Development's Section 504 regulations (24 CFR Parts 8 and 9) govern the assistance animals.

Assistance animals are also called:

  • Emotional Support Animals(ESAs)
  • Comfort Animals
  • Companion Animals

Policies and Procedures

Where are service animals allowed to go at UAB?

Individuals with disabilities may be accompanied by their service animals in all UAB buildings where members of the public or participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. By law, a 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. In some cases, the University may permit miniature horses on campus on a case-by-case basis, consistent with applicable law.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to: assisting an individual with low vision with navigation; alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects; pulling a person's wheelchair; or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility disability.

Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. The University may, however, ask if the animal is required because of a disability, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Exceptions

The University may exclude a service animal from campus if its behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or when its presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity. Furthermore, the University may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from campus if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it; or if the animal is not housebroken. The service animal is considered an extension of the student and thus, is subject to the same code of conduct as a student would follow. Disruptive behavior by a service animal will be grounds for removal from an academic setting in the same manner that a disruptive student will be removed from the same environment.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Service Animals

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their service animals at all times and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.If a service animal is not tethered, it must be otherwise under the individual's control, whether by voice control, signals, or other effective means.

Individuals are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Although the University may not charge an individual with a disability a service animal surcharge, it may impose charges for damages caused by a service animal in the same manner the University imposes charges for damages caused by students.

How do I get proper permission to have my assistance animal on campus?

Assistance or Emotional Support Animals (ESA's) are covered under the Fair Housing Act because they may be required for a variety of mental health issues. They are not trained to do a certain task, but are generally used to help with emotional stability and stress reduction. If ESA's are needed due to a disability, the person may be allowed to keep the animal in their primary residence without being required to pay a pet deposit and despite a policy that does not allow pets. This applies in most cases to all public and private rental property, as well as college housing.

A student must follow the DSS registration process and be granted an accommodation of access to their assistance animal. Please follow this link of information regarding the DSS registration process. A student must provide proper documentation to support an assistance animal. This documentation should address the guidelines found here as well as clearly identifying the animal’s role in the treatment plan of their diagnosis.

Assistance and ESA's can be a variety of animals and are not limited to dogs. They are, however, limited to the city and county restrictions of domestic animals that are allowed within an incorporated entity. Exotic or wild animals not allowed as pets inside a city limit also cannot be classified as an assistance animal.

What about service animals in training?

Federal law addresses two key points related to training of service animals:

  1. The ADA does not require service animals to be professionally trained. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.
  2. However, service-animals-in-training are not considered service animals. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. Thus, until the training is complete, the service animal in training does not have the same protection and privileges as a fully trained service animal.

Alabama law does provide a service animal in training with access similar to that of a service animal. UAB follows the following policy:
Service Animals in Training(SAIT) are any adult dog (generally after 18 months of age) that is undergoing training 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.

Exceptions

The University may exclude a service animal in training from campus if its behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or when its presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity. Furthermore, the University may ask a handler to remove a service animal in training from campus if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it; or if the animal is not housebroken. The service animal in training is considered an extension of the student and thus, is subject to the same code of conduct as a student would follow. Disruptive behavior by a service animal in training will be grounds for removal from an academic setting in the same manner that a disruptive student will be removed from the same environment.

Responsibilities of Handlers of Service Animals in Training

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal in training. Handlers are responsible for the control of their service animals in training at all times and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.

Handlers are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Although the University may not charge a handler a service animal in training surcharge, it may impose charges for damages caused by a service animal in training in the same manner the University imposes charges for damages caused by students.

Click here for more information on Service Animals in Training at UAB.

What are the standards of behavior for the animal and their owner?

Health, sanitary, safety, and disruptive standards must be maintained as follows:

  • Animals require daily food and attention, as well as a daily assessment of their general health, behavior and overall welfare.
  • Animals cannot be left unattended overnight at any time. If the owner must be away, they must either take the animal with them, or make arrangements for them to be cared for elsewhere, which does not include other residence hall or apartment spaces.
  • Animal waste must be taken care of by animal handler or owner Animal feces, defined as cat litter box contents and any solid animal waste, must be disposed of properly. It is the owner's responsibility to remove feces from University grounds, dispose of it in a plastic bag, and then place that bag in the garbage dumpsters outside. Cleanup must occur immediately. Animal feces may not be disposed of in any trash receptacle or through the sewer system. Waste must be taken to any residence hall or apartment dumpster for disposal.
  • Residents with cats must properly maintain litter boxes. In consideration of the health of the cat and occupants of the apartment or the residence hall room, cat litter box contents must be disposed of properly and regularly. The litter box must be changed with new cat litter regularly as outlined by the manufacturer.
  • Animal-accidents within the residence hall room or apartment must be promptly cleaned up using appropriate cleaning products.
  • Regular and routine cleaning of floors, kennels, cages, and litter boxes must occur. The odor of an animal emanating from the residence hall room or apartment is not acceptable. (see Cleaning Section below)
  • Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others (e.g., barking continuously, growling, yowling, howling, etc.). Animals which constitute a threat or nuisance to staff, residents or property, as determined by UAB may be asked to be removed.
  • An animal must not be involved in an incident where a person experiences either the threat of or an actual injury as a result of the animal's behavior. The animal owner will take all reasonable precautions to protect university staff and residents, as well as the property of the University and of the residents.
  • All liability for the actions of the animal (bites, scratches, etc.) is the responsibility of the owner. Violations concerning any of the aforementioned may result in the resident having to find alternative housing off-campus for the animal and, as warranted, may also result in a resident being in breach of their housing contract.

Cleaning and Damages

The animal owner has an obligation to make sure that the apartment or residence hall room is as clean as the original standard. If the apartment or room has carpeting, this also includes regular vacuuming and spot cleaning. Damages and extraordinary cleaning caused by the animal are the responsibility of the resident. Replacement or repair of damaged items will be the financial responsibility of the owner and assessed by UAB.

Are there any consequences for misrepresenting my entitlement to an assistance animal or service animal?

The Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act prohibits the misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal or service animal. A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal or service animal if the person intentionally does either of the following:

  1. Misrepresents to another person that a person has a disability or disability-related need for the use of an assistance animal or service animal in housing.
  2. Makes materially false statements for the purpose of obtaining documentation for the use of an assistance animal or service animal in housing.

The law further prohibits the misrepresentation of an animal as an assistance animal or service animal. A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of an animal as an assistance animal or service animal if a person intentionally does any of the following:

  1. Creates a document that misrepresents an animal as an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing.
  2. Provides a document to another person falsely stating that an animal is an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing.
  3. Fits an animal, which is not an assistance animal or service animal, with a harness, collar, vest, or sign that the pet is an assistance animal or service animal for use in housing.

Upon first offense, a violation of either provision shall be subject to a civil penalty of five hundred dollars ($500) or treated as a Class C misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent violation shall be a Class B misdemeanor.

Any concern regarding a potential violation under this section may be reported to the UAB Police Department.