Assistance Animal Policy

Agnes Scott College is committed to providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  The College complies with Section 504 of the Rehabiliation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  Agnes Scott College permits Assistance Animals (often referred to as Emotional Support Animals) in campus residential housing as a reasonable accommodation once the student has met the guidelines under which approval of an assistance animal is determined,  and the procedure for requesting housing accommodations has been completed and approved.   Please note that if you are found responsible for having an assistance animal without approval, you are no longer eligible.

 

I.                    “Assistance Animal” and other definitions

 

“Assistance Animals” are animals that provide assistance or emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.  For animals to be designed as Assistance Animals, students are required to demonstrate that their animal is a reasonable accommodation for an emotional or mental health disability (defined as an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities).  Demonstrating this need requires documentation from a treating medical or mental health provider (not related to the student) certifying that the Emotional Support Animal is part of a prescribed treatment plan for the disabling condition and alleviates symptoms or effects of a disability. Assistance Animals may be considered for living in the student’s assigned living space; however, they are not permitted in other areas of the College (e.g., McCain Library, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, Alston Student Center, Evans Dining, kitchen areas, public bathrooms, etc.). 

 

“Service Animals” are dogs or miniature horses that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  Service animals are permitted nearly everywhere on campus.  Where it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal as defined by the ADA, the College may ask whether the animal is required because of a disability, and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.  Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals.

 

A “Pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship.  A pet is not considered an Assistance Animal or a Service Animal and is not covered by this policy.  On-campus residents are not permitted to keep pets, other than fish, on college property or in college housing.

An “Approved Animal” is a Service or Assistance Animal that has been granted as a reasonable accommodation under this policy.

An “Owner” is the student who has requested an accommodation under this policy and has received approval to bring the “approved animal” on campus.

 

II.                  Procedures for requesting to have an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation

 

Assistance Animals may not be brought into campus housing without express approval of college officials. The procedures for requesting Assistance Animals in college housing are as follows:

  

  1. A student requesting permission to keep an Assistance Animal in college housing must make a formal request to the College’s Housing Accommodations Committee. To do so, the student should submit the Office of Accessible Education Welcome Packet, Housing Accommodation Request Form and documentation of their disability to be reviewed by the Committee.  Documentation should be submitted to the Office of Accessible Education.  The Housing Accommodations Committee meets at least once per semester to review requests for housing accommodations.  Requests for Assistance Animals as an accommodation are not guaranteed.  The following important dates for requesting housing accommodations are as follows:

 

                                               Agnes Scott incoming first-year students:

                                              June 15th for the fall semester  

 

                                                Agnes Scott Returning Students:

                                               March 1st for the fall semester; November 1st for the spring semester

 

While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Agnes Scott cannot guarantee that it will be able to immediately meet applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.  Agnes Scott College will make a good faith effort to accommodate student needs throughout the semester.    

  1. Where it is not readily apparent that an animal is an Assistance Animal under the FHA, the College may require documentation of the need for an Assistance Animal. Documentation should generally include the following information:

Documentation must:

  • Be in the form of a letter or report from a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist who is qualified to make the diagnosis and is currently treating you for the disability for which you are requesting an Emotional Support Animal.
  • The documentation must be on official letterhead and should be signed and dated within the last year.
  • Include a specific diagnosis, a statement of your current condition, the date and a summary of your most recent evaluation, and the expected duration of your condition.
  • State the current impact of (or functional limitations) imposed by the condition on your living situation.
  • Provide evidence the provider is currently treating you for the condition for which the accommodation is requested.
  • Explain how the condition relates to your request for an Emotional Support Animal. There must be a direct link established between the condition and your requested ESA.
  • Clearly state a recommendation for an ESA as part of your treatment plan.
  • Include possible alternatives if the requested accommodation is not available.

 

  1. The Housing Accommodations Committee will review documentation and, if the Committee approves the request, will contact the student within 15 business days of the important request dates (March 1st, June 15th and November 1st). A formal meeting may be arranged to review this policy with the student.  Students in violation of the protocol or policy are no longer eligible for an assistance animal.

 

  1. Upon approval of an Assistance Animal, residential building staff will be notified as appropriate.

 

  1. Upon approval of an Assistance Animal, the student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) will be notified to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval, and notify them that the approved animal will be residing in shared assigned living space.

 

III.                Service Animals

 

 Students using Service animals are not required to register with the Office of Accessible Education; however, you may be eligible  for academic accommodations if you use a service animal.  Students using Service Animals are strongly encouraged to connect with the Office of Accessible by the established important dates to discuss various housing adjustments that may need to be made. 

IV.                Conflicting Health Conditions

 

Students with a medical condition affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact the Office of Accessible Education  if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an Approved Animal.  Students presenting such concerns will be asked to provide medical documentation identifying the condition so the College can determine whether the medical condition requires accommodation when living in proximity to Service or Assistance Animals.

 

V.                  Owner’s Responsibilities in College Housing

 

  1. The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.

 

  1. The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage. The owner’s responsibility covers but is not limited to replacement of furniture, carpet, windows, wall covering, and the like.  The owner is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.

 

  1. The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to college premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence. The College shall have the right to bill the Student account of the owner for unmet obligations.

 

  1. The Owner must notify Accessible Education in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed as an Approved Animal or is no longer in residence.

 

  1. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through routine housing inspections, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a college-approved pest control service. If it is determined that the pests are attributed to the owner’s animal, the owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls.

 

  1. (For students in the Residence Halls and/or Avery Glen) All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the Approved Animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates do not approve, either the owner and animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates may be moved to a different location.

 

  1. Service Animals may travel freely with their owner throughout college housing (and nearly all other areas of the College). Assistance Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. 

 

  1. Approved Animals may not be left overnight in campus housing to be cared for by another student. Animals must be taken with the student if the student leaves campus for a prolonged period or boarded locally if the student is off campus.

 

  1. Housing has the ability to relocate owner and Approved Animal as necessary.

 

  1. Any violation of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from the College and may be reviewed through the Judicial Board.

 

  1. Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

 

  1. The Owner undertakes to comply with animal health and wellbeing requirements outlined below.

 

VI.                Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Animal at Agnes Scott College

 

  1. Introduction:

 The following guidelines apply to all Approved Animals and their owners, unless the nature of the documented disability of the owner presents a variance from the guidelines and has been modified and adjusted to meet those needs.

  1. Care and Supervision:

Care and supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the Owner.  The Owner is required to maintain control of the animal at all times.  The Owner is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal’s waste.  Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash dumpsters.  Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces. 

Only the designated bathrooms for Approved Animals may be used for general cleaning of animal.

  1. Animal Health and Well-being:

 

  1. Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag.  Although not mandated, cats should have the normal shots required for a healthy animal. 
  2. Health: Animals, other than cats and dogs, to be housed in campus housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health.  The college has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention. 
  3. Leash: If appropriate, the animal must be on a leash. The Owner must have control of the animal at all times.
  4. Other Conditions: Disability Services may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.

 

  1. Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the Agnes Scott community:

Members of the Agnes Scott College community are NOT to:

 

  1. Touch a Service or Assistance Animal unless invited to do so.
  2. Feed a Service or Assistance Animal.
  3. Deliberately startle a Service or Assistance Animal.
  4. Separate or to attempt to separate an owner from his or her Service or Assistance Animal.
  5. Inquire for details about the owner’s disabilities. The nature of a student’s disability is a private matter protected by law.

 

  1. Removal of Approved Animal:

The College may exclude/remove an Assistance Animal when 1) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, 2) the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College’s program, 3) the owner does not comply with Owner’s Responsibilities in campus housing, or 4) the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance, interferes with the Agnes Scott community, results in substantial physical damage to the property of others, or interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the housing by others.

The College may exclude/remove a Service Animal if 1) the animal is out of the control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it, 2) the animal is not housebroken, 3) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services, or the owner does not comply with Owner’s Responsibilities in campus housing.

 

  1. Damage:

 Owners of Approved Animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or college property caused by their animals.

 

  1. Areas Off Limits to Service Assistance Animals:

 

A Service Animal is permitted to accompany the student anywhere the student goes on campus, but the College may prohibit the use of Service Animals in certain locations because of health or safety restrictions (e.g. where the animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research).

 

Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to, the following: custodial closets, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, areas where protective clothing and hairnets are necessary, and rooms with heavy machinery.  When students with Service Animals must access a restricted area for a course requirement, reasonable accommodations will be provided to assure the student equal access to the academic program or activity.

  

       1. Non-retaliation Provision

Agnes Scott College will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in College housing, including a request for an Assistance Animal.

By my signature below, I verify that I have read, understand and will abide by the requirements outlined here and I agree to provide the additional information required to complete my Request for a Reasonable Accommodation under the College’s Assistance Animal Policy for College Housing.

Acknowledgment and Release of Information Consent

I have read and understand the Assistance Animal Policy and Agreement and I agree to abide by the requirements applicable to Assistance Animals. I understand that if I fail to meet the requirements set forth in the Policy, Agnes Scott College has the right to remove the Assistance Animal and I will be nonetheless required to fulfill my housing, academic, and all other obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

I furthermore give permission to Residential Life staff to disclose to others impacted by the presence of my Assistance Animal (e.g., Residence Life staff, potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s)) that I will be living with an animal as an accommodation. I understand that this information will be shared with the intent of preparing for the presence of the Assistance Animal and/or resolving any potential issues associated with the presence of the Assistance animal.

I further recognize that the presence of the Assistance Animal may be noticed by others visiting or residing in College Housing and agree that staff may acknowledge the presence of the animal, and explain that under certain circumstances Assistance Animals are permitted for persons with disabilities.

 

Individual Signature & Date

 

Office of Accessible Education Staff Signature & Date

 

Residence Life Staff Signature & Date