The purpose of this policy is to outline needs and requirements for allowing both service and emotional support animals on campus for all students, visitors, and temporary residents.
Hesston College is committed to complying with all applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act. With respect to a request for a service or emotional support animal, the college will determine on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether such an animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus. In doing so, the college must balance the needs of the individual with the impact of animals on other campus community members.
The student will assume full responsibility for the care and management of his or her own service or emotional support animal. This will include, but is not limited to, providing food, water and shelter; managing the animal’s behavior on campus and in the community; maintaining health and wellness; and disposing of animal waste in an appropriate manner.
Section 1. Definitions
- Service Animals
- As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The dog must also be trained to behave properly in places of public accommodation. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. ADA accommodation requests will also be considered as required by the ADA for miniature horses. With protections from the ADA, service animals are permitted in most locations and situations on campus.
- Emotional Support Animals
- An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that has been prescribed for a person by his/her licensed mental health professional in a properly formatted letter. This letter should state that the person is determined to be emotionally or psychiatrically disabled and that the presence of the animal is necessary for the disabled person’s mental health. ESAs do not require specific task-training as it is the presence of the animal that mitigates the negative symptoms associated with a person’s disorder. The Fair Housing Act offers protections for ESAs as related only to housing on campus.
- Assistance Animals
- For the purposes of this document, Assistance Animals will be used to refer to either an ADA service animal or an ESA.
- Therapy Animals
- A therapy animal is an animal (normally a dog) that has been obedience trained and screened for its ability to interact favorably with humans and other animals. The primary purpose of a therapy animal is to provide affection and comfort to people in locations such as hospitals, retirement/nursing homes, schools, disaster areas, and to people with learning difficulties. Therapy animals are not protected; however, they may be permitted on campus on a case-by-case basis.
- A pet is an animal kept for ordinary use or companionship. Pets are not considered as assistance animals. Pets, while not covered by this policy, are not protected, and are not permitted on campus. (See HC Student Handbook on Animals/Pets in the Residence Halls). Missing your pet is not a reason to request this accommodation.
- A person with a service or therapy animal.
Section 2. Approval Process
Assistance Animals may not be brought into college housing without expressed approval of college officials.
Emotional Support Animal Approval Procedures
Students in need of an assistance animal must make a formal accommodation request to the Disability Support Committee. To do so, the student should submit “Accommodation Request and Consent Form” found at: hesston.edu/disability-services as well as any required documentation to support the request.
The committee will meet within 10 business days of receipt of a completed request with supporting documentation. Requests, including all documentation, should be received at least 30 days prior to the first day of the semester. While applications submitted within 30 days before the start of a new semester will be accepted and considered, HC cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.
In addition to documentation supporting the accommodation for an assistance animal, the handler must show proof that the animal has met the following regulations:
- Vaccinations: As required by the City of Hesston, the service animal should be current on vaccinations against rabies at the time of application, and should receive an annual vaccination. Vaccination documentation must be either worn by the animal on its collar, or carried by the handler.
- Health: A record of current Veterinarian Clean Bill of Health must be submitted
- Identification: Hesston College encourages partners/handlers to identify their service animal from a pet by having it wear a vest, harness, or other apparatus indicating its status as a working animal. Similarly, appropriate tags are encouraged for ESAs.
The Disability Support Committee will review documentation and, if the committee approves the request, it will arrange a meeting with the person requesting a service or emotional support animal. This policy will be carefully reviewed with the person at that time.
Students whose request for an assistance animal through this process is not granted, will have the opportunity to appeal such decisions. All appeals are reviewed by the vice president of Student Life or designee. Students will receive information about the appeals process upon notification of decision of request for accommodations.
Upon approval of an assistance animal, Residence Life staff will be notified as appropriate.
Upon approval of an assistance animal, the student’s roommate will be notified (as applicable) to solicit their acknowledgment of the approval, and notify them that the animal has been approved to reside in the shared living space. Competing health issues will be resolved with full consideration of all parties, but may result in reassignment of on-campus housing to the most appropriate housing location.
The student must request to receive accommodations each academic year.
Section 3. Handler Responsibilities
While legal access rights are afforded to users of service animals, the access comes with the responsibility of ensuring that the animal behaves and responds appropriately at all times.
- The animal must be on a leash at all times. It should never be permitted to wander around off leash except if the animal is working.
- The handler must be in full control of the animal at all times.
- The animal must be as unobtrusive as possible.
- The animal must be well groomed (controlling odor, dander, and pests such as fleas).
An assistance animal must be well behaved and its handler must ensure that the animal does not engage in behaviors that would be a direct threat to the health and safety of others. When a service animal or emotional support animal is determined to be out of control, the infraction will be treated on an individual basis through the vice president of Student Life, disability services coordinator or designee. If the animal poses a threat to the safety of others, local police may be part of the collaborative team to determine the outcome resulting from the behavior. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, muzzling a barking dog, refresher training for the animal and its handler, or exclusion from college facilities.
Accepted emotional support animals will be permitted in and around the living area of the handler. ESAs are not permitted in other areas of campus.
Service animals shall be permitted to accompany that student at all school functions, whether in or outside the classroom. They will be considered as a necessary accessory (such as a wheelchair) and allowed at all times. Access will be restricted to the service animal where the presence of the animal fundamentally alters the setting, where there is a safety concern, or where otherwise restricted by another law/ordinance. Some examples of this could be restrictions to certain areas of a residence hall, in clinical practicums of nursing and health sciences programs, or in laboratories that could pose a safety risk. Should a laboratory or classroom setting be determined unsafe, a team of individuals including Student Support Services, the professor or laboratory professor(s), and the Student Success team will provide reasonable accommodations to assure the individual equal access to the activity.
Should a service animal become disruptive or out of control of the handler, or an animal is not housebroken, college staff may request that the animal be removed from the premises. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not signify that the dog is out of control. Should the animal be excluded due to being out of control, the college will give the individual who uses the service animal the opportunity to remedy the control deficiencies in order to continue to participate in the service, program, or activity.
Relief areas will be designated on an individual basis with the collaboration of the Student Support Services and Campus Facilities department personnel. It is the handler’s responsibility to be aware of the dog’s need to relieve itself and act accordingly.
The animal’s waste must be removed into a proper receptacle. Individuals needing assistance to clean up after their animals should notify the vice president of Student Life or disability services coordinator so that alternative arrangements may be agreed upon. If an animal urinates or defecates inside a building, or in another area that requires cleaning or maintenance, the handler must notify Facilities Department and will be responsible for the cost of cleaning and/or repair.
Section 4. Conflicting Disabilities
Persons who have asthma, allergies, or other medical conditions affected by the presence of animals are asked to contact the vice president of Student Life or disability services coordinator. The person impacted by the presence of the animal may be required to provide verifiable medical documentation to support their claim. The needs of both persons will be considered in resolving the issue.
If an allergy or other conflict resulting from the animal’s presence within a residence hall cannot be resolved agreeably, then Residence Life staff, the vice president of Student Life and disability services coordinator will collaborate to determine a solution. In the event of a conflict in living spaces, the first person assigned to the residence hall (whether the animal owner or person allergic to said animal) will remain in the assigned housing.
Section 5. Complaints
If there is any complaint regarding the animal and its behavior, the vice president of Student Life, or designee should contact the student and, in collaboration with the disability services coordinator, inform the student of the policies regarding service animals.