Assistance Animals

Service Animals

Agnes Scott College welcomes service animals into the campus community. Students with service animals may be eligible for academic accommodations. Students are strongly encouraged to connect with the Office of Accessible Education by the established important dates to discuss various housing and academic accommodations that may need to be made.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with psychiatric disabilities and mental impairments, such as depression, anxiety, and certain phobias; however, unlike service animals, ESAs do not have special training to perform specific tasks to assist people with disabilities.

ESAs only pertain to a student’s dwelling and may not be taken to class. If you would like to request an ESA accommodation, you must register with the Office of Accessible Education and follow the procedure listed in the Assistance Animal Policy. Please refer to the Emotional Support Animals process for more details.

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 Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 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 as long as the student has met the guidelines as a qualified student, 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 to have an assistance animal on campus.

“Approved Animal” is a Service OR Assistance Animal that has been granted as a reasonable accommodation under the Assistance Animal Policy.

“Assistance Animal” (or AA) is an animal that provides assistance or emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. In order for an animal to be designated as an AA, the student is required to demonstrate that their animal is a reasonable accommodation for their disability. This will require documentation from a treating medical or mental health provider (not related to the student) certifying that the AA is part of a prescribed treatment plan.

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

“Service Animal” is a dog or miniature horse that is trained to do work or perform specific tasks for a student with a disability. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do NOT qualify as service animals.

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

  1. A student requesting permission to keep an AA in College housing must first register with Accessible Education by filling out an application online and indicate they are seeking an accommodation for an AA.
  2. Each student’s request must be approved by the Housing Accommodations Committee. After the student has filled out an application, AE staff will send the student the Housing Accommodation Request Form to be filled out by the student.
    1. Documents can be returned to Accessible Education at accessibility@agnesscott.edu, hand-delivered to Buttrick Hall Room G13, or faxed to (404) 471-6083.
    2. The Housing Accommodations Committee meets at last once per semester to review requests for housing accommodations. Please note that requests for AAs are not guaranteed.
  3. The College may require additional documentation demonstrating the need for an AA. Documentation guidelines can be found on Page 2 of the Housing Accommodation Request form as well as listed below:
    1. Documentation should be in the form of a letter or report from a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or other medical professional who is qualified to give a diagnosis and/or is currently treating the student for the disability for which they are requesting an AA.
    2. Documentation must be on official letterhead and be signed and dated within the last two years.
    3. Documentation should include a specific diagnosis, statement of the student’s current condition, summarize a recent evaluation, and the expected duration of the condition.
    4. Documentation should provide evidence the provider is currently treating the student for the condition for which the accommodation is being requested.
    5. Documentation should state the current impact or functional limitations imposed by the disability on the student’s living situation and explain how the disability relates to your request for an AA. There must be a direct link established between the diagnosis and the requested AA.
    6. Documentation must clearly state a recommendation for an AA as a part of the student’s treatment plan and include possible alternatives if the requested accommodation is not available.
  4. The Housing Accommodations Committee will review documentation and OAE will contact the student after an approval decision has been determined. A formal meeting will be arranged to review this policy with the student.

The Housing Accommodations Committee may consider the following factors, among others, in determining whether the presence of an animal is reasonable OR while making housing assignments for students with AAs:

  1. The animal’s presence otherwise violates students’ right to peace and quiet
  2. The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner
  3. The animals’ vaccinations are not up-to-date
  4. The animal poses or has posed a direct threat to the individual or others, such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the Owner or other individuals on campus
  5. The animal causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear
  6. The size of the animal

Agnes Scott College will not limit room assignments for individuals with AAs to any particular building or buildings because the individual needs an AA due to a disability. Upon approval of the AA, Residence Life Staff will:

  1. Notify appropriate residential building staff
  2. Notify the Owner’s roommate(s) or suitemates(s) to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval and notify them that the approved animal will be residing in shared assigned living space(s).

Upon approval, the Owner of the AA will have to review this policy then fill out and sign the OAE Assistance Animal Contract and provide documentation related to the AA to OAE to keep on file. Should there be concern over the AA’s health or registration status, the College reserves the right to ask for records pertaining to these items at any time. Owners must produce them within 48 hours.

Registration documents include:

  1. Proof of vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations, the AA must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. The State of Georgia requires that all dogs and cats three months of age or older be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Animals should wear vaccination tags at all times.
  2. Routine treatment: In order to minimize potential disturbances to the community, when appropriate to the AA, Owners should administer preventative flea and tick medication on a regular basis.
  3. Registration: The Dekalb County Animal Ordinance requires that all dog, cat, and ferret owners in Dekalb County register their animals. Proof of registration is required for the AA to live on campus. More information is available at www.dekalbanimalservices.com.
  4. General health: AAs 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 the authority to direct that the AA receive veterinary attention as necessary.

Any approval for a specifically identified AA on campus is only for the designated academic year and will need to be renewed annually. The renewal process will involve:

  1. A renewal of the roommate/suitemate agreement contained within this policy.
  2. Updated documentation for vaccination records and registration with Dekalb County.
  3. If the nature of the student’s disability has fundamentally changed, they will need to submit updated documentation from their medical provider. Otherwise, updated documentation related to the student’s disability does NOT need to be submitted annually.

Relevant AA Registration & Renewal Deadlines

  • Incoming first-year students: June 15 for fall semester
  • Returning students seeking new AA: April 1 for fall semester; November 1 for spring semester
  • Returning students seeking AA renewal: June 1 for next academic year
  1. The Owner is responsible for assuring that the AA does not interfere with the routine activities of the residence hall or cause difficulties for students who live there.
  2. The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the AA including both bodily injury and/or property damage.
    1. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The Owner must notify OAE in writing if AA is no longer needed as an approved animal or is no longer in residence.
  5. 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 AA, the Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in residence halls.
  6. All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the AA 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 roommate/suitemate may be moved to a different location.
  7. Service animals may travel freely with their owner throughout College housing (and nearly all other areas of the College). AAs must be contained within the privately assigned residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness.
  8. AAs may NOT be left overnight in campus housing or 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. Examples include athletic trips, Journeys travel, school breaks, etc.
  9. Housing has the ability to relocate Owner and the AA as necessary.
  10. Any violated of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from the College and may be reviewed through Honor Court.
  11. Should the AA be removed from the premises for any reason the Owner is expected to fulfill their housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
  12. The Owner will comply with animal health and wellbeing requirements outlined below.

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

  1. Care & 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 and is responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal’s waste.
    1. 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.
  2. Containment. The Owner is responsible for ensuring that the animal is contained, as appropriate, when the Owner is not present during the day while attending classes or other activities. An AA must stay in a locked crate, aquarium, or cage when the owner is not present. If the Owner is assigned to live in an on-campus apartment, the AA’s crate, aquarium, or cage must be located in the Owner’s bedroom. In the case of an emergency, in which the AA must be cared for unexpectedly, the Owner will name someone as the emergency contact to make decisions about the care of the animal.
  3. Cleaning. The Owner shall not bathe and/or groom the animal, or clean its cage/crate/bedding using residence hall facilities shared by other residents (bathrooms, showers, laundry rooms, dorm rooms, or apartment facilities). An outdoor space will be designated for the Owner to wash their animal.
  4. Vaccinations. In accordance with local ordinances and regulations, the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs and cats must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag.
  5. General Health. Animals to be housed in campus housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. The College has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinarian attention. See page 3 of this Policy for documentation guidelines.
  6. Leash. If appropriate, the animal must be on a leash and the Owner must have control at all times.
  7. In Case of Emergency. The Owner will name someone as the emergency contact to make decisions about the care of their animal. If the Owner is unable to take care of the animal for more than 24 hours, the animal may be boarded at the expense of the owner at a designated facility.
    1. Please note that daily activities such as work shifts, class schedules, social obligations, etc. do not qualify as emergencies.
  8. Emergency Evacuation. Animal Owners are solely responsible for evacuating their animal in the event of an emergency. Evacuating the animal should not put the owner at risk of significant danger.

The College may exclude/remove an AA when/if:

  1. The AA poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others
  2. The AA’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College’s program
  3. The Owner does not comply with Owner Responsibilities in campus housing
  4. The AA or its presence created an unmanageable disturbance, interferes with the ASC community
  5. The AA causes substantial physical damage of the property of others
  6. The AA interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of housing by others
  7. The AA is out of control and the Owner does not take effective action to control it
  8. The AA is not housebroken
  9. The AA 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

Please note: Owners of Approved Animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or College property caused by their Approved Animal.

Areas off limits to Service 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 animal may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research)

  • Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to 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 has equal access to the academic program or activity.

Sanctions Process

Once an Assistance Animal Policy violation has been alleged, the Honor Court, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, or Dean of Student’s Office will contact the accused student (Owner). The Honor Court will have jurisdiction over the case.

It is important to note that each incident is different and the outcome of the case will depend on the severity of the alleged infraction. Repeat offenses will be considered and taken into account when assigning sanctions.

Sanctions could include the following from Honor Court:

  • 1st Offense: Formal warning issued from the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, reflection paper, review of policy with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and/or Office of Accessible Education.
  • 2nd Offense: Animal is removed from campus depending on the allegation/violated or additional sanctions are added to the Owner’s case.

In cases where the Owner is found responsible the Owner will be given 48 hours to have their animal removed from the residence hall. Honor Court may remove the animal during the first offense depending on the severity of the case.

Members of the ASC 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 attempt to separate an Owner from their Service or Assistance Animal
  5. Inquire for details about the Owner’s disabilities. The nature of a student’s disability is a private matter and protected by law.
Agnes Scott College will not retaliate against any person because that individual requested or received a reasonable accommodation in College housing, including request for an AA.

Requesting an Assistance Animal/Emotional Support Animal

Students requesting approval for an Assistance Animal/Emotional Support Animal should complete the following steps:

  1. Review the Assistance Animal Policy.
  2. Submit the New Student Application and indicate you are requesting approval for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Please note students who have already submitted the New Student Application for academic accommodations do not need to submit it again.
  3. Complete the Housing Accommodation Request Form and submit documentation from a medical provider treating you for a mental health condition. Students can upload this information with their New Student Application or email it to accessibility@agnessscott.edu.

Review Process

The College has an Housing Accommodations Committee that meets throughout the semester to review all housing-related accommodation requests. Once students have submitted there request to OAE with documentation, we will submit to the Housing Accommodations Committee for review.

Next Steps if Approved

If approved for an Assistance Animal, you will need to:
  1. Set up an appointment with OAE staff to review the Assistance Animal Policy.
  2. Fill out the Assistance Animal Agreement Form and submit proof of up-to-date vaccinations and register with Dekalb County Animal Services.
  3. Meet with Residential Life staff virtually to allow them to see the Assistance Animal and answer any questions

Annual Renewal

Each year you will need to renew your Assistance Animal by reviewing the Assistance Animal Policy and submitting an updated Assistance Animal Agreement Form. Students will also need to submit updated vaccination records and Dekalb County Registration to accessibility@agnesscott.edu.

Please feel free to email accessibility@agnesscott.edu if you have questions regarding assistance animals at Agnes Scott College.

Back to top