Service Animal Policy
At Wagner College, we are committed to ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to our programs and services. Accordingly, it is essential for us to recognize the importance of service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments (ADAAA) which are trained to help disabled persons do work or carry out certain tasks that benefit the individual and develop a policy that allows us to better serve students who need help to utilize the services of such animals. This policy will ensure the rights of persons with disabilities who require the use of a service animal on campus to facilitate their full participation and equal access to the college’s programs and services. The foundation of this policy is to promote equal access in a non-discriminatory manner and to support the principle that individuals with disabilities be provided equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from support and services at Wagner College
“Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service dogs are permitted in all areas of a place of public accommodation. This includes any private residence space assigned to the student. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.” (ADA,Title II and Title III Revised Requirements)
Service animals include guide dogs, signal dogs, or other animals individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. Besides being permitted to bring their service dogs to their assigned residence spaces, students with service dogs should be permitted to bring their service dog to all areas of a place of public accommodation.
It should be noted that the college is permitted limited inquiries regarding service animals. The permitted questions are:
- Is the animal required because of a disability ?
- What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?
Service animals are welcome in most parts of the College. Owners (including faculty/employees or family members) planning to bring Service Animals to reside in college housing are asked to notify Disability Services and The Office of Residential Education to allow the College to properly accommodate their animals and appropriately consider the needs of other residents who may suffer from allergies or otherwise need to limit contact with animals.
Support animals are animals that provide emotional support , therapeutic benefits , comfort or promote emotional well-being.
According to the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students with disabilities may request to keep support animals in their residence as a reasonable accommodation as long as there is compelling evidence to support that the animal is necessary to give the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling or participate in the housing program. There must be a relationship or a nexus between the disability and the support that the animal provides to the individual. Some support animals are professionally trained, others may be trained by their owners, while some are not trained at all. The essential function of the animal must be that it provides the needed benefit for its owner. Since a support animal, unlike a service animal, does not assist a person with a disability with his or her daily physical activities, the animal does not accompany a person with a disability at all times. Support animals are not allowed in classrooms, administrative offices,dining halls, athletic facilities or any other non-residential facilities.
Besides serving the functions outlined above, (1) all animals must be licensed in accordance with city regulations and, if appropriate, must wear a valid vaccination tag. (2) They must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. (3) The owner of the support animal, must be in full control of the animal at all times. (4) The animal owner is responsible for the appropriate management of his or her animal in all college facilities, including appropriate waste clean-up. (5) Certain aggressive/ disruptive behavior on the part of the animal may result in the owner being asked to remove the animal from the college.
Each request will be considered on a case by case basis collaboratively by members of the College community. These commonly include, but are subject to change, the the Dean of Campus Life, Associate Dean of CACE, the Assistant Dean of Health and Wellness and/or the Director of Residential Education or their designee(s).
The college reserves the right to limit approval of proposed ESAs to animals that do not pose health or safety concerns, or would significantly disrupt the residence hall living environment for others. This may include, but is not limited to animals that have previously posed a direct threat to the safety of health of an individual, aggressive behavior toward any person(a), or possess the potential transmission of zoonotic diseases. The College has determined that the residence hall setting, in most cases, is not an appropriate environment in which to raise a puppy or kitten. Therefore, dogs and cats must be at least 10 months of age, be spayed or neutered, and have received their first rabies vaccination before they can live in-residence in College housing.
Upon approval of the request, the Director of Residential Education will make a housing assignment in a suitable residence in a hall designated as “animal compatible.”
By developing a policy that aims to benefit students who need the assistance of service or support animals, we are making a good faith effort to not only benefit our students but be in compliance with the relevant mandates of disability laws (i.e. ADA, ADAAA, FHA and Section 504).
Students have the right to appeal the decision of the Committee by contacting the Senior Academic Affairs Officer, who is commonly the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
A pet, an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship, is not considered a Service Animal or an Assistance Animal.
Forms that need to be submitted for Approval of Support Animals in Wagner College Housing
- Disability Housing Accommodation Request – to be completed by the student .
- Disability Request For Information Re: Support Animal –To be completed by licensed medical professional who is not (a) a relative of the student and/or (b) an employee of the Wagner College Center for Health & Wellness, Nursing Program, or any other affiliated office.
Documentation of the need for a Support Animal should follow the Medical Housing Documentation Guidelines and should generally include the following information:
- Verification of the individual’s disability from a licensed physician,psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or other mental health provider.
- A statement on how the need for the animal relates to the ability of the resident/student to use and enjoy the living arrangements provided by the college
- Owner’s Responsibilities for Students with Service or Support Animals in Wagner College Housing
No extra deposit will be collected for residents approved to have a service or support animal on campus, however the residents must follow the following :
- The Owner is responsible for making sure activities of the residence/other residents are not disrupted due to issues relating to their animal.
- The Owner is financially responsible for all actions of their animal, including bodily injury or property damage, and is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.
- The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning “above and beyond” the standard cleaning of their residence once vacated.
- If the Approved Animal is no longer needed as approved, Disability Services must be notified. Also, to replace an Approved Animal the owner must file a new request.
- All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the Approved animal to be in residence with them. If they do not, further action will be made on a case-by-case basis.
- The college may relocate the student and service or comfort animal if necessary to accommodate other residents with medical condition(s) who are affected by animals,or in other circumstances as deemed appropriate .
- Service Animals may travel freely with their owner throughout campus housing and other areas of the College. Owners should carry proof that their animals are approved.
- Animals may not be left overnight in Campus housing to be cared for by another student.
- The Owner agrees to continue to abide by all residential policies.
- Any violation of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from the College.
- If it is the case that the approved animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is still expected to fulfill his/her contractual housing obligations.
- The owner must re-apply each year to have a service or support animal on campus.
III. Animal Health and Well-being
- The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal In accordance with local ordinances and regulations.
- Animals to be housed in campus housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. The College has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention. (Local licensing law is followed.)
- The College reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed and meets required local health codes( vaccinations,registration when appropriate) must be presented before the animal is brought to campus. Where appropriate the animal must have current vaccinations.
- All service animals must be properly trained.
- If appropriate the animal must be on a leash (unless the leash would inhibit the animal’s ability to be of service).
- Disability Services may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.
Removal of Approved Animal
The College may exclude/remove an approved animal when:
- the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others
- the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College’s program,
- the owner does not comply with their responsibilities as approved animal owners
- the animal creates an unmanageable disturbance with the Wagner College community.<
Areas Off Limits to Service Animals
The College reserves the right to prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations on campus because of health and safety restrictions, where the animals may be in danger, or where their use may affect academic programs. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Service Dog in Training
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assures people with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals that they will not be excluded from public places or activities, nor charged any additional fees, because they are accompanied by their service dog. However, the ADA does not provide the same protection to service animals in training. The ADA assures access for the handler/partner only if the dog is fully trained to give some disability related service.
In Accordance to New York State Law a Service Dog is such that one who is being trained by a “formal training program” or “certified trainer” which is defined as a institution, group, or individual who has documentation and community recognition as a provider of service animals shall have the same rights and privileges set forth for person with a disability.
Because there is no mention of animals in training under the ADA and because New York State does not clarify further its use of the term “in training” Wagner College has established policy, based on accepted practices suggested by Assistance Dogs International (ADI). A service-dog-in-training is a dog, accompanied by its trainer, that is undergoing individual training to provide specific disability-related work or service for an individual with a disability. This does not include obedience training or socialization of puppies who may later become service animals (generally 15-18 months). Thus, adult dogs are recognized as being “in training” to provide disability- specific assistance only after they have completed an earlier period of socialization (obedience training, being house broken, getting acclimated to public places and everyday activities as pets.)
As service animals in training in New York are only given access when they are in the company of a certified trainer, they cannot be in residence in campus housing, nor be present in other areas of campus such as classrooms, with the exception of those places that are open to the public and only when accompanied by a certified trainer.
If you are training an animal to aid and guide persons with disabilities, you must register your dog with the Disability Services Office and comply with the requirements set forth in this policy.