Assistance Animals Policy

Saint Xavier University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to its policies, practices or procedures as required by law to afford people with disabilities an equal opportunity to access programs, services and activities.

Assistance Animals

Assistance animal is a broad term to include animals classified as service animals by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and emotional support animals as defined by the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Pets are not considered assistance animals.

Service Animals

The ADA, as amended, defines a service animal as "dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. ... Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog [and in some cases a miniature horse] has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."*

Service animals are allowed to accompany a person with a disability in all places that students and members of the public are permitted to go, except where animals are specifically prohibited due to a safety or health hazard.

In order for an individual to qualify for having a service animal on campus: 1) the student must have a qualifying disability as defined by the ADA and 2) the accompanying animal must be trained to do tasks or work for the qualifying student.

Saint Xavier staff and faculty may not ask about the nature or extent of the person's disability nor request documentation (such as proof that the animal has been trained or licensed). However, when it is not readily apparent that a dog is a service animal, the following two inquiries are allowed: 1) Is the dog required because of a disability? 2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

While not a requirement to bring a service animal on campus, Saint Xavier University recommends students contact Disability Services prior to attending classes to ensure smooth access and rectify any potential conflicts (e.g., instructor allergies or science lab hazards) before a semester begins.

Emotional Support Animals

In certain circumstances, per the Fair Housing Act, Saint Xavier University provides reasonable accommodations for a student with a disability to have an emotional support animal in University housing. An emotional support animal is an animal that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing because the animal ameliorates one or more identified symptoms or effects of the student's disability. There must exist a documented link between the animal and a disability.

Emotional support animals are approved only for University housing.

Approval Process for a Service or Emotional Support Animal in Housing

  1. Students who seek to have a service or support animal in housing must notify the Office of Residence Life as soon as possible, ideally at least 45 days before move-in.
  2. The student must submit the appropriate housing accommodation form to Residence Life.
  3. The student must fully complete an assistance animal agreement and comply with its rules.
  4. Approval is granted by the Office of the Dean of Students.
  5. Animals may not move into housing before formal approval is granted. Moving an animal in prior to approval will be considered a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and the student may face disciplinary action.

Care and Control

The student with the assistance animal is responsible for the cost, care and supervision of the animal. The student is responsible to comply with the same University rules regarding safety, noise, disruption and cleanliness as other students. If the animal's behavior is disruptive, aggressive or destructive, or if the student does not clean up after the animal or provide a clean living environment for the animal, the student will be held responsible and may be asked to remove the animal from campus.

General guidelines for animals include:

Allergies and Other Conflicts

In the case of allergies with roommates, faculty, staff or other students, or other conflicts that might arise such as fear of the animal, the final determination will be made on a case-by-case basis with a full attempt made to accommodate the needs of all individuals involved.


If a requested accommodation is not approved, or a student is required to remove the assistance animal due to a violation of the Assistance Animal Agreement, the student may contact the Dean of Students to seek informal resolution to the complaint. If the informal process is unsuccessful, a formal grievance may be initiated. All formal grievances should be submitted to the Dean of Students Office, WAC L-103 or

*ADA Requirements for Service Animals

Approved: May 2016

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