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Service Animal Regulations

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Texas State University recognizes that service animals can play an important and necessary role in fostering the independence of some individuals with disabilities.

The definition of a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. In some cases, an exception may be made for a miniature horse. No other animals are considered service animals. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.

Federal regulations also do not require the person with a disability to provide documented proof of training of the dog, nor do they have to provide documentation of their disability. Should a person with a service animal want to take the animal into a building or area that is open and accessible to the general public, they may do so. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, students with service animals may only be asked the following two questions:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Note: Students are strongly encouraged to register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) if they plan to have a service animal in on-campus housing. The reason for this is to allow the ODS to help advocate on students' behalf should questions related to their animal arise.

Handlers' Responsibilities

The individual handler is solely responsible for the custody and care of the service animal and must meet the following requirements:

  • A service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the service animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
  • The handler must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the individual’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. The University has the right to require documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include a vaccination certificate. The University reserves the right to request documentation showing that the service animal has been licensed.
  • The handler is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the service animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner and, when provided, must use animal relief areas designated by the University. If the handler is not physically capable of cleaning up after the service animal, the handler must hire someone who is physically capable and incur the cost of such hire. Service animal waste cleanup should include appropriate waste clean-up equipment and proper disposal of waste in an appropriate container. An appropriate container is an outside receptacle (i.e., dumpsters).
  • At all times, the handler has the sole responsibility of the cost of care and maintenance of health and well-being of the service animal. University personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any service animal including, but not limited to, removing the service animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the service animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the service  animal.
  • The University will not ask for or require an individual with a disability to pay a fee or surcharge for a service animal.
  • The handler is financially responsible for the actions of the approved service animal. An individual with a disability may be charged for any damage caused by their service animal beyond reasonable wear and tear to the same extent that it charges other individuals for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear. These actions include bodily injury and/or property damage and the handler must take appropriate precautions to prevent injury and/or property damage. The University shall have the right to bill the individual for unmet obligations and/or damages under this provision.
  • The handler must fully cooperate with University personnel with regard to meeting the terms of this regulation and developing procedures for care of the service animal (e.g., feeding/watering the animal, designating an outdoor relief area, disposing of feces, etc.).