Service Animals

Service Animal Policy

The AEC policy on service animals is congruent with Part 35 of the ADA Title II Regulations, Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Goverment Services as well as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The revised Regulations (below) became effective March 2011 and apply to all programs and services at SJSU..


The following information are highlights from the U.S. Department of Justice's technical assistance document on the 2010 revised ADA requirements for service animals. Please refer to the document for a complete listing of guidance information.

  • Beginning March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.

  • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.

  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.


The following information from the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing applies to SJSU:

  • Persons with disabilities have the right to use the services of a guide, signal or service dog or other such designated animal and to keep such animals in or around their dwellings. Landlords may reasonably regulate the presence of the animals on their premises but may not impose any extra charges or security deposits. Tenants, however, are liable for any damage caused by their animals when proof of such damage exists.

  • At the request of a person with a disability, a housing provider must make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services when these accommodations may be necessary to afford a disabled person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. This includes making an exemption to a "no pet" policy to enable a disabled tenant to have a service animal.

(a) General

Generally, a public entity shall modify its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.

(b) Exceptions

A public entity may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if—

(1) The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it; or

(2) The animal is not housebroken.

(c) If an animal is properly excluded

If a public entity properly excludes a service animal under § 35.136 [(b)exceptions], it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

(d) Animal under handler's control

A service animal shall be under the control of its handler. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

(e) Care or supervision

A public entity is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal.

(f) Inquiries

A public entity shall not ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability, but may make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal. A public entity may ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A public entity shall not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Generally, a public entity may not make these inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).

(g) Access to areas of a public entity

Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service animals in all areas of a public entity's facilities where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.

(h) Surcharges

A public entity shall not ask or require an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees, or to comply with other requirements generally not applicable to people without pets. If a public entity normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

(i) Miniature horses

(1) Reasonable modifications. A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.

(2) Assessment factors. In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, a public entity shall consider—

(i) The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features;

(ii) Whether the handler has sufficient control of the miniature horse;

(iii) Whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and

(iv) Whether the miniature horse's presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.

(3) Other requirements. Paragraphs 35.136 (c) through (h) of this section, which apply to service animals, shall also apply to miniature horses.