Service Animals Policy

Butler University adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the most recent guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding service animals. In accordance with the ADA and the DOJ, Butler University offers the following guidelines regarding service animals on campus.

Service Animal Definition

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the student’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to: assisting an individual who is blind, or has low vision, with navigation and other tasks; alerting an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds; pulling a wheelchair; assisting an individual during a seizure; alerting the individual to the presence of allergens; retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone; providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to an individual with a mobility disability; helping the individual with a neurological disability by preventing
accidents or mishaps.

Emotional support, therapy, comfort or companion animals are terms used to describe animals that provide comfort by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job of task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, ONLY two questions
may be asked:

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

Service animals are not required to wear an identifying vest, patch, or harness and documentation or certification as to the dog’s training or status as a service animal cannot be required.

Generally, the person with the disability is considered the animal’s handler, although this is not always the case. Within a university setting, the handler is generally a student with a disability who owns the service animal.

Service Animal in Training

Service animals in training are not protected under the ADA; rather, state law addresses restrictions and protections for service animals in training. A service animal trainer, while engaged in the training process of a service animal, is entitled to access to any public accommodation granted by this section. The service animal trainer is liable for any damage done to the accommodation by the service animal.

Service animals in training may not reside in University Housing.

Service animals in training must adhere to all the Handler Responsibilities set forth below and are also subject to the Removal of Service Animal guidelines in this policy.

Service Animal Procedures

Students with service animals on campus are strongly encouraged to register with Student Disability Services, as it is often the case that they may benefit from additional academic accommodations. Additionally, registration with SDS may assist in minimizing the frequency of inquiries from faculty and staff about whether a specific animal qualifies as a service animal for a particular student. For registered students SDS will issue, with permission from the student, written confirmation of the animal as a service animal in the form of a statement on an official SDS Accommodation letter.

Procedures for a Service Animal Residing in University Housing

Students intending to have their service animal in residence in university housing must register this intention with Student Disability Services. The student will be required to complete the Service Animal in Housing Agreement form at that time, and again before the start of each academic year. The Service Animal in Housing Agreement form must be completed before the service animal may live in University Housing.

If the service animal is residing in college housing, the handler is required to provide the Director of Residence Life with emergency contact information should the handler be unable to care for the service animal at any time. An emergency contact may not be a current Butler University student or staff member.

Residence Life may disclose information regarding the presence of an animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, Residence Life personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include any information related to the individual’s disability or the purpose of the animal.

Handler’s Responsibilities

The handler must be with the animal at all times when the animal is on campus. Animals may not be left overnight in university housing to be cared for by any individual other than the handler. The animal must be controlled by the handler at all times.

The animal must be on a leash/harness at all times (with the exception of the handler’s room/specific living area), unless the handler’s disability prevents the use of a leash/harness or interferes with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of tasks. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

The animal must be in good health. The cost of care and maintenance of health and wellbeing are the sole responsibility of the handler. Butler personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for the animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage, or loss of the animal.

The animal must be properly vaccinated, and vaccinations must be current; documentation about this may be required. The service animal must abide by local ordinances regarding vaccinations and proper licensure.

The animal must be maintained in a manner that takes into consideration the health and hygiene of the animal and those who come into contact with the animal.

The handler is financially responsible for the actions of the approved service animal. These actions include bodily injury and/or property damage and handlers must take appropriate precautions to prevent injury and / or property damage. Any damage to Butler University
property caused by the service animal beyond normal maintenance cleaning will be charged to the handler.

The animal must be house broken. The handler is responsible for cleaning up all animal waste and disposing of that waste immediately in outdoor dumpsters. Animal waste is not to be disposed of indoors.

If the handler is not physically capable of cleaning up after the service animal, it is the handler’s responsibility to hire someone else to do so.

Service animal waste cleanup should include appropriate waste clean-up equipment such as plastic bags – properly disposing of waste in a plastic bag, then placing bag in an appropriate container. An appropriate container is an outside receptacle or dumpster.

To the extent possible, the service animal should be unobtrusive to other individuals and the learning, living, and working environments.

Thus, the Handler should ensure that the service animal does not:

  • Actively seek the attention of other people.
  • Sniff people, dining tables or food service bars, or the personal belongings ofothers.
  • Display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, unless it is part of theservice, work or task that is being provided to the Handler.
  • Block an aisle or passageway for emergency/fire egress.

Removal of Service Animal

Service animals may be removed from Butler University premises if:

  • the service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it. If improper animal behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal into any college facility until the handler can demonstrate that they have taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior
  • the service animal is not housebroken,
  • the service animal is a direct threat to the health and safety of individuals, or
  • the service animal displays vicious behaviors towards other students, faculty, staff,or guests,
  • the handler does not comply with the handler’s responsibilities set forth above.

When there is legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, Butler University staff will work with the student to bring resolution to the situation on a case-by-case basis via interactive discussion. Appropriate alternative accommodations will be considered and offered.

Conflicting Disabilities

Some people may have serious medical conditions that are affected by animals, causing substantial impairment which may then qualify as disabilities. Butler University will consider the needs of both individuals with qualifying disabilities in meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

Students who wish to request an accommodation as a result of a conflicting disability related to the presence of a Service animal should contact the SDS Office to initiate registration. Documentation will be required.

Residence Life will make a reasonable effort to notify individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the Service animal, including but not limited to, Residence Life personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s).