Emotional Support and Service Animals

Approved by:  Instructional Services


Related Policies: 

Related Forms, Procedures and References:  Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities

For Questions Contact: Accessibility Coordinator | 414.382.6026 | tasia.hicks@alverno.edu

Pets and other animals are prohibited in all Alverno College buildings, with the exception of service animals and emotional support animals that have been approved by the Student Accessibility Coordinator (see Instructional Services) in accordance with federal law and the College's policy.


Service Animal: A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is trained to perform an actual
service or task for the benefit of an individual with a disability that is related to the
disability. Examples of a service or task include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are
blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of
hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or providing physical support
with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities. 

Emotional Support Animal: An emotional support animal is an animal that is prescribed by a
healthcare or mental health professional for a student with a qualifying disability and is necessary to
afford them with an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a residence hall room. There must be an
identifiable relationship between the student’s disability and the support the animal provides. For
example, an ESA's presence may positively impact the symptoms of the student’s disability by
providing emotional support.  Emotional support animals are only allowed in the student's on campus residence hall room.

Pet: A pet is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a service or
emotional support animal. Pets are welcome to use public, outdoor spaces on campus, subject to certain restrictions including the athletic fields and outdoor events sponsored by Alverno College faculty, staff and students (including but not limited to Graduation and Convocation).Pets/Animals must be under the control of the owner (i.e., on a leash or harness) at all times. Hosts are responsible for cleaning up after any visiting animals. Pets may be in outdoor, public spaces for a temporary, short term (less than one [1] day), and occasional (no more than three [3] times per semester) stay that is not overnight. All damages caused by an animal while on campus property are the responsibility of the owner. To maintain safety and avoid disruption, pets are not allowed inside buildings or other indoor spaces owned or controlled by the College.

Service Animals in the Laboratory

Alverno College seeks to support an inclusive campus environment and welcomes the presence of trained service animals assisting individuals with disabilities on College property. As part of this commitment, the College intends all students to be safe and successful in science lab classroom situations.  The following guidance is intended for instructional faculty teaching in laboratory areas and students who are service animal handlers utilizing these areas.

Students requiring a service animal should consider the potential hazards present in the lab when making decisions about their animal. Students who require the use of a service animal in labs assume responsibility for all risks involved in the use of the service animal in lab areas, including the risk of exposure to hazardous materials and objects.


Service dog owner shall be responsible for:
• Connecting with the Student Accessibility Office to arrange a meeting with the course lab instructor and appropriate lab manager before the beginning of the semester to discuss service dog arrangements
• Signing the Service Animals in Laboratory Settings Policy Student Agreement (See Appendix C) prior to the first day of the lab course.  A copy of the agreement will be housed in Student Accessibility, and a copy provided the student and the instructor.
• Ensuring that the dog has received the proper training so it will be safe and not disruptive during the lab. 
• Ensuring the dog is well-behaved and does not cause a disruption, distraction, or injury to others in the area
• Following the guidelines and requirements listed in the Needs Assessment Form (See Appendix B)
• Providing any necessary personal protective equipment for the dog (See Appendix A)
• Cleaning the required mat used and storing it in a lab-instructor-designated location after each lab session
• If appropriate PPE is not brought to the lab, the service dog will not be permitted in to the laboratory.
The Alverno Student Accessibility Coordinator shall be responsible for:
• assisting students intending to bring a service dog in a laboratory and requesting the student to complete a Needs Assessment Form (See Appendix B)
• collaborating with the student, instructor, lab manager and other appropriate campus personnel in an interactive process to ensure safety for a service animal in a lab classroom 
Lab instructors shall be responsible for:
• Discussing the college requirements for service animals in a science lab setting with the student.  
• Responding to any disruptions by discussing the situation first with the owner
• Contacting Campus Security to report animal behavior problems that do not resolve
Procedures for instructors and student dog handler
• A student should be permitted to keep the service dog as close as is safe for the student and the dog.  Placement will vary based on safety concerns per course and room.
• The use of gates, pens, or kennels may be appropriate.  The student is responsible for providing this equipment.
• A service dog must be protected as is expected of the student to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, broken glass, or other hazards that might be present in the laboratory environment. The owner must provide protective equipment such as reusable boots, eye protection, and body covering (See Appendix A). 
• Service dogs will not be allowed into the laboratory without the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Owners are responsible for the cleanup and disposal of urine, feces or vomit
• Faculty and staff are not allowed to request any medical documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability
• Service dogs can only be excluded from the laboratory if:
• the dog is out of control, and the handler doesn't take effective action to control it; 
• the dog is not housebroken;
• the dog's presence can interfere with the outcomes of the experiments or if the substances used can be hazardous to the dog. 

Access should not be denied without consultation between the student, professor, lab instructor, and Student Accessibility Coordinator.

Behavior expectations of service dogs
• If the service dog is present in the lab, the dog must be trained to "stay" and "leave it" (or equivalent behavior).
• The dog must not vocalize, bark, or growl inappropriately.
• If the dog is trained to alert by vocalizing, the instructor must be aware of the circumstances under which the dog would vocalize. Disruptive, extended vocalizing, or barking will not be permitted unless in proper context.
• The dog must not behave aggressively towards other people – snapping, snarling, growling, charging, swiping, etc.
• The dog must not jump up on other people
• The people in the laboratory will be informed that the dog is a service dog and always working during the class period
• Classmate interaction with the dog is by permission of the owner and only permitted outside the laboratory

If the service dog displays inappropriate behaviors, the dog will not be permitted in any laboratory.  The student may appeal in writing for re-access of the animal to lab to a group to include the Chair of Natural Sciences Math and Technology (NSMT) Division, the Student Accessibility Coordinator, and the Campus Safety Director by providing rationale as to why the dog is no longer a disruptive element in lab situations.