Service and Emotional Animals on Campus

San Jose State University recognizes that service animals help people with disabilities participate in everyday life, and that other animals can provide support or comfort. Service animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers in any building or public space where their handlers are permitted. Students living in University Housing have rights to emotional support animals (ESAs) under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FHA).

     Service Animal1      Emotional Support Animal
Purpose Trained to perform a specific task (e.g., navigation, sight) that mitigates impact of student’s disability.  Provide comfort/emotional support (e.g., student’s relationship with animal) to mitigate impact of student’s disability. 
Type of Animal Dogs (or rarely, miniature horses). Animals deemed safe for the environment/community (i.e.  Animals commonly kept in households).
Requirement of Approval  No approval, request, documentation, or proof of training is required. If a service animal’s role is not apparent, you can ask the handler (1) “Is that a service animal for a disability?” and (2) “What service/task does it perform for you?”  Request must be made for a reasonable accommodation. This request requires the student to provide the AEC supporting documentation from a treating professional. 
Campus Access Generally, anywhere students are permitted on campus (exceptions may exist for health/safety). Specific campus areas, after University approval. This is typically the students housing facility, but does not preclude requests for other areas on campus.
Animal Behavior The animal is the responsibility of the student. Animals must be housebroken and be under their student’s control (in proximity to the student and responsive to commands, in harness, leashed or in a carrier). An animal’s behavior is considered the student’s behavior; the animal will be held to the same basic standard of conduct as the student. If they are disruptive to university business or community behavioral expectations, student may be asked to correct the animal’s behavior or remove it from the environment. 

1 Service Animals is a dog (or miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disabilities. A service animal may also be referred to as a guide dog or a signal dog. Service animals are trained to recognize and respond to a handler's need for specific service. Service animals are allowed on campus grounds, including university housing, classrooms and campus libraries. The service animal must have current vaccinations, be well-groomed, trained, housebroken and under control. Service animals are protected by the ADA. 

If a Service Animal’s role is not apparent by observation, students may be asked:

  • “Is that a service animal for a disability?” 
  • “What service/task does it perform for you?” 

Students are not required to register with AEC to have a service animal on campus. However, registration will allow AEC to provide notification to campus community as applicable. 


2 Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are not trained to perform specific tasks directly related to an individual's disability but does provide emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. An emotional support animal may also be referred to as an assistance animal, a comfort animal or a therapy animal. An emotional support animal is not restricted by species like a service animal. An emotional support animal must have current vaccinations, be under control and be maintained in a manner that considers the health and hygiene of the animal and those who come in contact with the animal. Dogs and cats, for example, must be housebroken and well-groomed. Emotional support animals must also meet additional requirements as specified in an approval allowing the emotional support animal in university housing. Emotional support animals are not protected by the ADA.

Students are required to register with AEC to have an ESA in University Housing, or other specific areas on campus.