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Service & Assistance Animals

Policy Overview

Texas Tech University is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. All questions regarding service animals should be directed to the Student Disability Services (SDS) office at 335 West Hall or via phone (806-742-2405), fax (806 742-4837), or email. No documentation will be required to bring service animals into academic buildings on campus. However, in the case of assistance animals residing in University housing, the University will require that documentation be provided on the letterhead of a treating physician or mental health provider, which permits the University to determine:

  1. That that the individual has a disability for which the animal is needed;
  2. How the animal assists the individual, including whether the animal has undergone any training; and
  3. The relationship between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides.
Service Dog

SERVICE ANIMALS PERMITTED ON CAMPUS

Individuals with disabilities may be accompanied by their service animals in all Texas Tech University buildings where members of the public or participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. By law, a service animal means 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 service animals. In some cases, the University may permit miniature horses on campus on a case-by-case basis, consistent with applicable law.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to: assisting an individual with low vision with navigation; alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects; pulling a person's wheelchair; or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility disability.

Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. The University may, however, ask if the animal is required because of a disability, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Exceptions

The University may exclude a service animal from campus if its behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or when its presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity. Furthermore, the University may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from campus if the animal is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control it; or if the animal is not housebroken. The service animal is considered an extension of the student and thus, is subject to the same code of conduct as a student would follow. Disruptive behavior by a service animal will be grounds for removal from an academic setting in the same manner that a disruptive student will be removed from the same environment.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Service Animals

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their service animals at all times and must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws. A service animal shall be restrained with a harness, leash, or other tether, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If a service animal is not tethered, it must be otherwise under the individual’s control, whether by voice control, signals, or other effective means.

Individuals are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Although the University may not charge an individual with a disability a service animal surcharge, it may impose charges for damages caused by a service animal in the same manner the University imposes charges for damages caused by students.

 

ASSISTANCE ANIMALS IN UNIVERSITY HOUSING

Federal law allows individuals with disabilities the presence of a broader range of animals (“assistance animals”) in University housing as compared with the campus as a whole. By law, an assistance animal means any service animal, as defined above, as well as an animal needed for emotional support. An individual may keep an assistance animal as an accommodation in University housing if:

  1. The individual has a disability;
  2. The animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; and
  3. There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides. Assistance animals are NOT allowed in any other university buildings.

Exceptions

The University may exclude an assistance animal from University housing if the animal is not housebroken; would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others or University facilities; would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity; or is not being cared for by the individual. Students will be liable for damage caused by assistance animals in the same manner they are responsible for personal damages to University property.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Assistance Animals

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of an assistance animal. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their assistance animals at all times and for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Individuals must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws, as well as the University’s rules in lease provisions regarding vaccination, licensure, leash control, cleanup rules, animal health, and community relationships.

 

Procedures & Forms

University Housing

For more information, please visit the University Student Housing website.