Service and Assistance Animal Policy

Policy Number: OAE-1100-008

Policy Title:  Service and Assistance Animal Policy

Vice Chancellor/Associate Chancellor: Office of the Chancellor

Unit Responsible for Policy: Office for Access and Equity (OAE)

Effective Date: November 5, 2020

Contacts: Associate Chancellor, OAE

Policy Statement:

The University of Illinois at Chicago (“the University” or “UIC”) is committed to full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of university life. The University seeks to provide an academic, social, and physical environment that makes persons with disabilities integral to the diversity of perspectives that is vital to an academic community.

All individuals, including students, employees, contractors, patients, and visitors, are prohibited from bringing or having dogs, cats, or any other pets or animals in University buildings or facilities and on University Property except as permitted by law or approved by the appropriate University official in accordance with this policy.

Service Animals

The University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics Management Policy and Procedures has its own policy on Service Animals outlining the use and access of Service Animals in the University’s hospital and clinics (LD 4.05).

Individuals who require service animals are permitted to have such animals in all Public Areas of University Property.

Service animals are also permitted in on-campus housing. Students and employees who intend to have their service animal reside with them in on-campus housing are encouraged to notify Campus Housing.

Employees who require the use of a service animal in their workplace must make a request for reasonable employment accommodations through the OAE.

Students who require the use of a service animal in the classroom are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center.  Students who require the use of a service animal while providing clinical care to patients in the facilities of the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System must make a request for a reasonable accommodation through the Disability Resource Center, pursuant to the University of Illinois Hospital and Clinics Management Policy and Procedures (LD 4.05).

The ADA defines a service animal as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks for purposes of the definition of a service animal.

Under certain circumstances, miniature horses that are also individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, may be permitted as service animals.  The University will determine whether a miniature horse should be permitted as a service animal on a case-by-case basis. In determining whether a miniature horse may be permitted as a service animal, the University will consider (1) the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the specific University facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s physical features; (2) whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse; (3) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence in a specific University facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation of that facility. Students requesting a miniature horse as a service animal must contact the DRC; employees requesting a miniature horse as a service animal must contact the OAE.

A service animal must be under the control of its handler and have a harness, leash or other tether, unless the handler is unable to use a tether because of a disability or the use of a tether would interfere with the service animal’s ability to safely perform its work or tasks. In these cases, the service animal must be under the handler’s control through voice commands, hand signals, or other effective means. A service animal may be excluded from a specific UIC facility if its presence creates a legitimate health, environmental, or safety hazard for the facility (e.g., a hospital unit in which a sterile field is required).

The University reserves the right to request that an individual with a disability remove a service animal if the animal is not housebroken or is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it. If a service animal is excluded, the individual with a disability will be offered the opportunity to participate in programs and activities, or receive services, without having the service animal on the premises.

Prohibitions

Individuals are prohibited from asking a handler of a service animal about the nature or extent of the handler’s disability. Further, individuals are prohibited from asking a handler for documentation or proof the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. If a service animal’s tasks are not observable, a handler may be asked if the service animal is required because of a disability and be asked to identify the work or task that the service animal has been trained to perform.

Assistance Animals

Assistance animals are not considered service animals under state and federal law, but may be approved as reasonable accommodations for students or employees if appropriate. Individuals seeking an accommodation of an assistance animal on campus must establish that the animal alleviates at least one of the identified symptoms or effects of the individual’s existing disability. Assistance animals will not be permitted on University Property without documentation from either the DRC or the OAE. Assistance animals living in Campus Housing will be subject to UIC Campus Housing Assistance Animal Agreements in regards to animal and handler care and conduct. UIC students who wish to request that an assistance animal be allowed on campus must follow the process for requesting reasonable accommodations through the Disability Resource Center; UIC employees who wish to request that an assistance animal be allowed on campus must follow the process for requesting employment accommodations through the Office for Access and Equity.

Reason for Policy: To promote a safe and healthy learning environment with rules concerning animals on campus and to ensure that the University is compliant with federal and state laws related to persons with disabilities. This policy codifies the existing practices related to service animals and assistance animals. Specific procedures regarding the presence of animals in research laboratories are maintained by the Environmental Health and Safety Office.

Minority Impact Statement: The policy does not have any disproportionate or unique impact on the University’s minority students, staff, or faculty.

Who Should Read the Policy:  All students, faculty, staff, and administrators at UIC.

Definitions

  • Assistance Animal: Any animal specifically designated by a qualified medical provider that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability. Such animal may afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, workplace, or other area, provided there is a nexus between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. Assistance animals are also commonly known as emotional support, therapy, or comfort animals. Assistance animals are not service animals.
  • Handler: An individual with a disability who is the owner and user, or trainer of a service animal or assistance animal, or the owner or individual bringing an animal onto University property.
  • Pet: For purposes of this policy, a pet is any animal that is not a service animal or assistance animal.
  • Public Areas: For purposes of this policy, public areas are indoor and outdoor areas on University Property that are open to the general public, including libraries, food courts, student centers, and other like spaces. Classrooms, residence halls and most employee workspaces are not generally considered public areas. Patient treatment areas within the facilities of the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System are not considered public areas.
  • Service Animal: Any dog or under certain circumstances a miniature horse specifically trained to perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by a service animal must directly relate to the individual’s disability. For purposes of this policy, a service animal-in-training is a service animal and may include a dog or a puppy, or under certain circumstances a miniature horse, that is being trained as a service animal.
  • Work Space: An area used or allocated for one’s work, as in an office or other like space where work or task are to be accomplished.
  • University Property: For purposes of this policy, University Property includes all areas owned or controlled by the University.

Procedures:

Forms: N/A

Related Laws, Regulations, Statutes, and Policies: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), Illinois Service Animal Access Act, UIC Student Disciplinary Policy and related UIC and University of Illinois policies.

Document History:

Approved by: UIC Senate Committee, Chancellor
Effective date: November 5, 2020
Approved date: November 5, 2020
Approved as: New Policy