Student Guidelines for Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

As service and emotional support animals become more common in public venues, a few guidelines will be helpful to promote positive experiences for students, faculty, and staff within the George Fox University community. These guidelines are intended to protect the rights and safety of all community members.

Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog* that is “individually trained” to “do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.”  The tasks a dog has been trained to provide must relate directly to the person’s disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

* Under particular circumstances set forth in the ADA regulations at 28 CFR 35.136(i), a miniature horse may qualify as a service animal.

Emotional Support Animals

Federal laws recognize emotional support animals as reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities for purposes of housing and travel.  In order for an animal to qualify as an emotional support animal, the individual must have an identified psychological disability as diagnosed by a qualified provider; documentation from the provider must include a recommendation for an emotional support animals.  By definition and law, a “mental or psychological disorder” qualifies as a disability so long as it substantially “limits a major life activity.” 

Service Animals on Campus

  • In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, employees may ask two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability (see ADA guidelines)
  • If a dog is not trained to perform work or a task, an employee may ask the handler not to bring the animal into the room or building. Emotional support animals that provide comfort but do not perform a task are not service animals. 
  • All service animals are required to be well behaved, controlled by the handler, on a leash or under voice control at all times, and housebroken, in accordance with ADA guidelines.
  • If a service animal is being disruptive, the handler is required to remove the service animal from the room or building until the animal is ready to return. If an employee believes a service animal is being disruptive, he or she may ask the handler to leave the area or the building until the animal is ready to return.
  • Any necessary cleanup is the handler’s responsibility.
  • We expect that all service animals will be current with local and state licensing and vaccination regulations at all times.
  • If any member of the George Fox community indicates he or she has an allergy or phobia to dogs and is affected by the presence of dogs on campus, please notify the Disability Services Office as soon as possible. We will work toward a solution that meets the needs of all involved.
  • Students must have approval from the Housing Office and the Disability Services Office in order to house a service animal in campus housing.

Emotional Support Animals on Campus

  • The university allows emotional support animals in campus housing under certain conditions. Students must have approval from the Housing Office and the Disability Services Office prior to bringing an emotional support animal into campus housing.
  • Emotional support animals are not permitted in university buildings except approved campus housing (as noted above).

If you have questions related to having a service animal or emotional support animal on campus, please contact Rick Muthiah at rmuthiah@georgefox.edu or 503-554-2314.