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Procedures for General Service or Psychiatric Service Animals

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Texas State recognizes that service animals can play an important and necessary role in fostering the independence of some individuals with disabilities.  In cases where the disability is not readily apparent or easily perceivable documentation of disability may be requested.  Faculty, staff and students should provide documentation to the Office of Disability Services (ODS).

General Service Animals

An appropriately trained animal, under the control of the disabled individual, may be allowed in campus facilities where animals would typically not be permitted (Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 121).Only service animals that meet the criteria below will be exempt from rules that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals.

 

A.   Individuals requiring use of a service animal must demonstrate that the service animal is needed as a reasonable accommodation that is linked to their specific disability (e.g., deaf, hard of hearing, mobility impaired, physical disability, Blind, visually impaired).

 

B.   For the purposes of these guidelines a service animal must meet the following criteria:

 

-     The animal is of a type commonly accepted and trained for performing a task or function for disabled individuals.

 

-     The service animal is individually trained to perform a specific task or tasks not instinctual to the animal on behalf of an individual with a disability.

 

-     Training of the animal is of a type appropriate for the disability.

 

-     A clear and explicit rationale must exist for the function or service that the animal will fulfill. Examples include a guide dog for the blind, a hearing dog which can alert a deaf individual to important sounds including a ringing telephone or doorbell, or a dog trained to provide minimal protection or rescue work.

 

C.    Any animal posing a direct threat to the health or safety others, or exhibiting repeated disruptive behavior, may be denied access to university facilities.

 

D.    Any animal whose presence would fundamentally alter the nature of a specific program or service will be excluded.  However, the person with a disability will be allowed to participate without the animal.  This determination would be made on a case by case basis.

 

Psychiatric Service Animals

If a student with a disability needs requires the services of a psychiatric service animal to ease the symptoms of a disability, the student must submit documentation of need.

Specific supporting documentation is necessary in order for the university to consider whether the request for a psychiatric service animal meets the criteria for a necessary and reasonable accommodation. In determining whether a psychiatric service animal is a necessary accommodation we will consider the following factors as documented by a qualified medical professional.  

  • What is the disability that the student is requesting the psychiatric service animal to assist them with? 
  • What role/function does the animal serve for this person?
  • What specific task or tasks is the animal trained to perform?
  • What treatment approaches have been attempted already and how effective were they?
  • Date of onset of disability and duration, DSM diagnosis and medications (Office of Disability Services Medical/Psychological Disability Summary Report form).
  • What is the severity of symptoms, functional impact of symptoms, treatment history details and when, how, and why a therapeutic support animal became an integral part of their treatment plan?
  • What evidence is there that the student will not be able to remain in school if it were not for this therapeutic support animal?

Students with such a severe disability that a psychiatric service animal is a necessary accommodation are expected to seek approval of this accommodation prior to bringing the animal on campus. 

Service Animals in Training

As provided in §121.003 (I) of the Texas Human Resources Code, Texas State will admit to its facilities an assistance animal in training when accompanied by an approved trainer who is an agent of an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities as reputable and competent to provide training for assistance animals and their handlers.

General Service Animals in University Housing

In addition to meeting the above criteria, the following guidelines will be used for requests to have service animals reside in university housing.

 

A.    Individuals receive authorization for the service animal in university housing as an appropriate accommodation prior to the animal moving into residence.

 

B.    Specific room or apartment assignments will be determined by a collaboration between Department of Housing and Residential Life, the Office of Disability Services, and the individual making the request taking into account the individual's needs, the animal's needs, and the needs of those living in proximity.

         C.    Student agrees to be responsible for any damages to property caused by behavior of the service animal. Students with disabilities who have officially met Texas State criteria to have a service animal on campus or in university housing will not be required to pay a fee or deposit for this animal.  Additional information about Housing requirements for animals can be found in their Animal Owner Agreement.

Housing Accommodations for Comfort or Emotional Support Animals 

Requests may be made to have a comfort or emotional support animal in University Housing. These animals would not be permitted in any other locations on campus.  In order to make a request:

  • Students must show documentation of a disability and be registered with the Office of Disability Services.
  • Students must have documentation from a qualified medical professional stating how the animal assists the student with their disability.
  • Students must provide information about the size and type of animal, in addition to documentation from a licensed veterinarian showing that the animal is in good health, is up to date on immunizations and shows evidence of flea control (if applicable).
  • Additional information about Housing requirements for animals can be found in their Animal Owner Agreement.
  • Approval for the animal must be received prior to moving the animal into the residence.

For questions or additional information, contact the Office of Disability Services.