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 Student Disability Services (SDS) at 130 Weeks Hall, via phone (806-742-2405), fax (806 742-4837), or email us with service animal questions. No documentation will be required to bring certified service animals into academic buildings on campus.
Guide to Animals on Campus
|Service Animals||Emotional Support Animals|
|Fully vaccinated dog||Dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home as a pet. In general, reptiles, other than turtles, barnyard animals and exotic animals are not considered household pets. If the individual is requesting to keep a unique type of animal that is not commonly kept in households as described above, then the requester has the substantial burden of demonstrating a disability related, therapeutic need for the specific type of animal. The individual is encouraged to submit documentation from a healthcare professional confirming the need for this unique type of animal.|
|Required because of a disability||Requested for emotional support|
|Trained to perform a task||Not trained to perform a task|
|Allowed in academic buildings||Not allowed in academic buildings
(Residence halls only)
|Not required to be registered||Must be registered with the University Student Housing Welcome Center and SDS|
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Frequently Asked Questions
The Difference Between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
A service animal is defined in Title II Section 35.104 under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog that is 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. Service animals are allowed in public places because of the owner's need for the animal at all times.
Examples of such work or tasks include but are not limited to:
- guiding people who are blind or have low vision
- alerting deaf persons to the presence of people or sounds
- pulling a wheelchair
- alerting an individual of a seizure, change in blood sugar, or an allergen
- reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
- calming a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack
- performing other duties
(See ADA.gov for more information on service animals)
Emotional Support Animals
The revised 2010 ADA regulations specify, "The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks." Thus, these animals are not considered service animals. However, an emotional support animal does ameliorate identified symptoms of an individual's emotional or psychological disability. The emotional support animal's function may be entirely passive with the sole role being its presence.
Emotional Support Animals are also called:
- Comfort Animals
- Companion Animals
- Therapy Animals - Responsibilities include providing psychological or physiological therapy to individuals; they are often allowed visitation to rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals.
The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) and HUD regulations found in Section 504 (24 CFR Parts 8 and 9) govern emotional support animals.
Service Animal Request Form Emotional Support Animal Request Form
Policies and Related Information
How do I know how my animal is classified?
Is it a dog? Yes.
Is it individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a disability? Yes.
Then, this is a service animal.
- According to the ADA, it is the handler's right to have the dog provide a service).
- The animal can go everywhere the handler goes, and the animal is trained to respond to the handler's needs.
- The use of this animal on campus does not prompt registration with SDS or the University Student Housing Welcome Center.
Service Dog in Training
Is it a dog? Yes.
Are you training it to perform a task for the benefit of a disability? Yes.
Is the dog required to be accompanied by an approved trainer at all times? Yes.
Then this is a service animal in training.
- The ADA recognizes one's ability to train their own animal. However, the ADA does not recognize a service animal in training as a service dog and does not allow the same access.
- Texas Law allows for Service Animals in Training, but the animal must be accompanied by an approved handler at all times.
- The use of this animal on campus must be approved through SDS.
- If the student is the approved (certified) trainer, then documentation stating such must be provided to SDS. If the student is NOT an approved trainer, the student and the service dog in training must be accompanied by an approved trainer at all times.
Emotional Support Animal
Is it a domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home as a pet? Yes.
Is it trained to respond to any stimuli? No.
Is the animal's presence its value? Yes.
Then this is an emotional support animal.
- Covered under the FHA (not recognized by the ADA because there is no right to comfort).
- Animal's presence as support, well-being, or comfort does not constitute work or tasks.
- The use of this animal in Housing must be approved through SDS and University Housing prior to being able to bring the animal into any residence hall.
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 domesticated, 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.
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, 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.
Service Animals in University Housing
A service animal is defined in Title II Section 35.104 under the ADA as a 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. Service animals are allowed in public places because of the owner's need for the animal at all times.
Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. The University staff/faculty may ask if the animal is required because of a disability, and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. In general, service animals are permitted access to public buildings and campus facilities. However, to live in a public housing complex, University Housing is permitted to request vaccination and shot records to ensure the safety and health of the community and other animals.
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. 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. TTU 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.
SDS complies with all federal and state disability laws to ensure equal access for qualifying persons with a disability to educational programs, services, and activities. All questions regarding service animals should be directed to SDS at (806) 742-2405.
Download the PDF of the Housing Request for Service Animals form.
Service Animals in Training Policy
ADA Service Animal TermsThe document published by OCR addresses two key points:
- The ADA does not require service animals to be professionally trained. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.
- However,service-animals-in-training are not considered service animals. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. Thus, until the training is complete, the service animal in training does not have the same protection and privileges as a fully trained service animal. Some state laws (including those in the state of Texas)* or local laws cover animals that are still in training.
* The State of Texas recognizes Service-Animals-in-Training to have access to the same areas as trained service animals as long as they are accompanied by an approved trainer. TTU requires the student to provide documentation of their certification as the trainer from an approved organization.
* The State of Texas Code Section 121.003 states: (i) A service-animal-in-training shall not be denied admittance to any public facility when accompanied by an approved trainer.
Requirements for Students
- Complete the SDS Verification Form for Service-Animals-in-Training. This form does not register the student with SDS for classroom accommodations, but if the student wants to apply for services, he/she can do so. This verification form will be kept on file with SDS.
- Provide SDS with a Certification of Training document. An approved trainer recognized by TTU is an individual who has been certified by an organization whose primary mission is to train service animals for people with disabilities. If the student is not an approved trainer, the student must provide proof an approved trainer will be with the student and the dog while in campus buildings. This documentation will also be kept on file with SDS.
- Meet with SDS staff to obtain approval for bringing a Service-Animal-in-Training into campus buildings.
A campus building is any building on campus including housing facilities. During this
meeting, SDS staff and student will:
- Review published ADA language that allows for the person to train the dog themselves, but does not recognize service-animals-in-training as a protected accommodation.
- Review the State of Texas statute that does allow Service-Animals-in-Training to access the same areas as Service Animals as long as they are accompanied by an approved trainer.
- Review TTU policy on what constitutes a recognized, approved trainer.
- Review TTU policy that Service-Animals in Training must be identified by a vest or tag indicating they are in training, and must comply with and abide by the same University policies and procedures that any Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal follows. This includes policies within the Student Code of Conduct.
- Housing Requirements – If the student resides in TTU Student Housing, then the Verification Form will be sent to the University Student Housing Welcome Center as well.
Requirements for Service Animal (dog) in Training
- The animal must be at least one year of age.
- The animal must meet all standards of behavior that mirrors a trained service animal.
This means that the animal is under the owner's control at all times, and the animal is leashed at all times .
The ADA requires service animals be under the control of the handler at all times. The service animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered while in public places unless this interferes with the service animal's work or task. In that case, the person must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the animal. Under control also means a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in an otherwise quiet place.
- Additional service animal guidelines include all of the following:
- The animal must be housebroken
- The animal must have its current required vaccinations
- The animal must wear its collar and tags at all times.
Download the Service-Animals-in-Training Policy (Word document)
Download the Service-Animals-in-Training Policy (PDF)
State of Texas Human Resources Code
TITLE 8. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Section 121.003 DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED
... (i) A service animal in training shall not be denied admittance to any public facility when accompanied by an approved trainer...
Standards of Behavior by Animal and Animal Owner
Health, sanitary, safety, and disruptive standards must be maintained as follows:
- Animals require daily food and attention, as well as a daily assessment of their general health, behavior and overall welfare.
- Animals cannot be left unattended overnight at any time. If the owner must be away, they must either take the animal with them, or make arrangements for them to be cared for elsewhere, which does not include other residence hall or apartment spaces.
- Emotional support animals must not be taken into the residence hall or apartment offices, administrative offices, common space or student living areas.
- Animal waste must be taken care of, and any animal handler or owner must comply with Section 4.01.002- Animals defecating on public and private property. Animal feces, defined as cat litter box contents and any solid animal waste, must be disposed of properly. It is the owner's responsibility to remove feces from University grounds, dispose of it in a plastic bag, and then place that bag in the garbage dumpsters outside. Cleanup must occur immediately. Animal feces may not be disposed of in any trash receptacle or through the sewer system inside any building on the TTU campus. Waste must be taken to any residence hall or apartment dumpster for disposal.
- Residents with cats must properly maintain litter boxes. In consideration of the health of the cat and occupants of the apartment or the residence hall room, cat litter box contents must be disposed of properly and regularly. The litter box must be changed with new cat litter regularly as outlined by the manufacturer.
- Animal-accidents within the residence hall room or apartment must be promptly cleaned up using appropriate cleaning products.
- Regular and routine cleaning of floors, kennels, cages, and litter boxes must occur. The odor of an animal emanating from the residence hall room or apartment is not acceptable. (see Cleaning Section below)
- Any flea infestation must be attended to promptly by the University Student Housing Welcome Center's contracted professional extermination company at owner's expense. Owners are expected to promptly notify the hall office or the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff via the FixIt work order system and arrange for extermination when a flea problem is noted. Animal owners may take some precautionary measures such as flea medications prescribed by veterinarians, flea and tick collars, taking your animal to the veterinarian for flea and tick baths. However, the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff may not use chemical agents and insecticides to exterminate fleas and ticks. Because not all of the precautions listed above can prevent flea and tick infestations, the owner is responsible for extermination costs after vacating the residence hall room or apartment.
- Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others (e.g., barking continuously, growling, yowling, howling, etc.). Animals which constitute a threat or nuisance to staff, residents or property, as determined by the University Student Housing Welcome Center Managing Director or designee, must be removed within seven (7) days of notification. If Texas Tech Police Department personnel determine an animal poses an immediate threat, animal control may be summoned to remove the animal. If the behavior of the animal can be addressed by the owner, and the owner can change the behavior of the animal so that it does not have to be removed, then a written action plan must be submitted by the owner. The action plan must outline the action to take place to alleviate the problems and also must give a deadline as to length of time the plan will take to complete. Any action plan must meet the approval of the University Student Housing Welcome Center Managing Director or designee. The day after the deadline for removal from the apartment, the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff will do a residence hall room or apartment inspection to check damages and infestation and then the mandatory cleaning and extermination will be scheduled. Any animal owner found not adhering to the removal directive will be subject to disciplinary action, which could include contract cancellation.
- An animal must not be involved in an incident where a person experiences either the threat of or an actual injury as a result of the animal's behavior. The animal owner will take all reasonable precautions to protect university staff and residents, as well as the property of the university and that of the residents.
- The owner will notify University Student Housing Welcome Center staff via the hall office if the animal has escaped its confines and is unable to be located within eight (8) hours.
- All liability for the actions of the animal (bites, scratches, etc.) is the responsibility of the owner. Violations concerning any of the aforementioned may result in the resident having to find alternative housing off-campus for the animal and, as warranted, may also result in a resident being in breach of their housing contract.
Cleaning and Damages
- When the resident moves out of his/her apartment or residence hall room, or no longer owns the animal, the apartment or residence hall room will be assessed to determine if damage to department property can be attributed to the animal. The Division maintains the right to conduct apartment or residence hall room inspections annually for the purpose of assessing damage caused by the animal or otherwise determine the resident's compliance with this procedure.
- The animal owner has an obligation to make sure that the apartment or residence hall room is as clean as the original standard. If the apartment or room has carpeting, this also includes regular vacuuming and spot cleaning. Damages and extraordinary cleaning caused by the animal are the responsibility of the resident. Replacement or repair of damaged items will be the financial responsibility of the owner and assessed by members of the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff.
Document adapted with permission from the University of Texas, Austin, TX, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA, and Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA.
Thank you to smerikal from flickr for the use of the service dog photo under the Creative Commons license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.
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Address130 Weeks Hall, MS 45007 | Lubbock, TX 79409