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C13.0 Service or Assistance Animal Policy

  1. Scope

    All Faculty, staff, and students requesting a Service Animal or Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation in the course of the individual’s employment, education, or housing.
     
  2. Introduction

    Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It is committed to providing those members of the RIT community with disabilities equal access to programs, services, and physical facilities. In fulfilling this commitment, RIT acknowledges that some members of the RIT community with disabilities may require reasonable accommodations to RIT’s rules or policies which may include the use of Service or Assistance animals while at RIT.
     
  3. Definitions
     
    1. “Service Animal” means a dog trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.
       
    2. “Assistance Animal” means any animal that is not necessarily trained to perform specific tasks but provides assistance or benefits to an individual with a disability or otherwise alleviates one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Assistance Animals are commonly referred to as “comfort and/or emotional support animals” and are restricted to the Owner’s Residence.
       
    3. “Pet” means any animal not considered a Service or Assistance Animal.
       
    4. “Owner” means the member of the RIT community with a disability who has received approval for use of a Service or Assistance Animal.
       
    5. “Disability” means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. RIT may require information from a Qualified Health Care Provider (defined below) as to the nature and extent of a Disability.
       
    6. “ADA” means the Americans with Disabilities Act.
       
    7. “Qualified Health Care Provider” means a non-RIT physician, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or other mental health professionals.
       
    8. “Residence” means an RIT assigned dwelling in which an Owner resides, including but not limited to, residence halls, Global Village housing, University Commons suites, RIT apartments, RIT Inn & Conference Center, and Greek Housing. Residence does not include the areas in those buildings not designated for living such as common hallways and building common rooms. Other RIT facilities, including faculty and staff offices, are not considered Residences under this policy.
       
  4. Requesting the Use of a Service or Assistance Animal
    1. Students.

      Students who would like to request a reasonable accommodation for the use of a Service or Assistance Animal should contact the RIT Disability Services Office and complete a Disability Services Request Form. Assistance Animals are not permitted in RIT housing until it is approved as a reasonable accommodation. Students who will have a Service Animal reside with them in RIT housing should notify the RIT Disability Services Office.
       
    2. Employees.

      Employees who would like to request a reasonable accommodation for the use of a Service Animal in the course of their employment shall contact RIT Human Resources and complete a Request Form for Employee Disability-Related Accommodation.
       
    3. Review.

      RIT will review requests for Service or Assistance Animals on a case by case basis, in consultation with the individual making the request. This consultation is an individualized assessment and is intended to be an interactive process for the purpose of determining the nature of the individual’s Disability and its functional limitations.
       
      1. Service Animals.

        RIT may inquire if the Service Animal is required because of an ADA Disability and how the Service Animal assists the individual, including what work or tasks the dog has been individually trained to perform. The work or task that the Service Animal performs must be directly related to the individual’s ADA Disability. Employees who request a reasonable accommodation for the use of a Service Animal in the course of the employment may be required to provide supporting documentation, consistent with RIT’s Employee Disability-Related Accommodation process.
         
      2. Assistance Animals.

        RIT may inquire if the Assistance Animal is required because of a Disability and how the Assistance Animal assists the individual, including what work, tasks, services, or assistance the Assistance Animal performs, or if the Assistance Animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the individual’s Disability. The emotional support performed by the Assistance Animal must be directly related to the individual’s Disability. RIT may require the individual making the request for Assistance Animals to provide documentation on the letterhead of a Qualified Health Care Provider which establishes that individual’s Disability and the necessity for an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation.
         
    4. Licensing and Registration Requirements

      Before a Service or Assistance Animal is permitted on campus as a reasonable accommodation, Owner must ensure that the Service or Assistance Animal complies with all applicable local licensing and registration requirements. RIT may require written proof of compliance with applicable licensing and registration requirements must be on file with either the Disability Services Office or Human Resources.
       
    5. Health and Vaccination Records

      In addition to compliance with applicable licensing and registration requirements, Owner must ensure that the Service or Assistance Animal receives an annual exam from a licensed veterinarian that does not identify health issues sufficient enough to prevent the Service or Assistance Animal from providing the necessary assistance to the individual. The animal must also have updated vaccinations, including but not limited to, any vaccinations deemed necessary by a licensed veterinarian. The animal must, as applicable, also wear a rabies vaccination tag at all times.
       
  5. Owner Responsibilities
     
    1. Service Animal

      The care and supervision of the Service Animal is the sole responsibility of Owner. Service Animals must be under the control of the Owner at all times. Service Animals may not be left unattended, alone in RIT Housing, or under the control of anyone other than the Owner. RIT personnel shall intervene if the Service Animal is found unattended, in need of care, or causing a disturbance. RIT personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for the Service Animal, nor shall they be required to remove the Service Animal during emergency evacuations.
       
    2. Assistance Animal

      The care and supervision of the Assistance Animal is the sole responsibility of the Owner. Assistance Animals must be under the control of the Owner at all times. Assistance Animals are only permitted within the Owner’s Residence, except to the extent the Owner is taking the animal out for natural relief. Assistance Animals are not allowed in other RIT facilities. Assistance Animals may be left unattended during the day, provided that it is appropriately contained in the Owner’s room.  Appropriate containment of the Assistance Animal during the day may include, but is not limited to, the use of a crate or kennel. Assistance Animals may not be left unattended overnight or for extended periods of time, in RIT Housing, or under the control of anyone other than the Owner.  RIT personnel shall intervene if the Assistance Animal is found unattended overnight or for extended periods of time, in need of care, or causing a disturbance. RIT personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for the Assistance Animal, nor shall they be required to remove the Assistance Animal during emergency evacuations. The Owner must notify DSO in writing if the Assistance Animal is no longer needed, or is no longer in the Residence.
       
    3. Care and Supervision
       
      1. The Service or Assistance Animal must be clean, well groomed, and free of pests. If RIT facilities are used to bathe the Service or Assistance Animal, the Owner shall clean the area when done.
         
      2. The Service or Assistance Animal must be housebroken and trained to avoid excreting inside RIT facilities or in improper places.
         
      3. During regularly scheduled housing inspections, the Owner’s RIT Residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks, or other pests. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the RIT Residence will be treated. Such treatment will be at the sole discretion of RIT and at the sole expense of the Owner.
         
      4. The Owner shall immediately remove and properly dispose of the Service or Assistance Animal’s waste.
         
    4. Under Control of Owner

      The Service or Assistance Animal must be under the Owner’s direct physical control with a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either these devices would interfere with the Service or Assistance Animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If so, the Owner must use voice, signal, or other effective means to maintain control of the Service or Assistance Animal. The Service or Assistance Animal must not be disruptive to its surroundings.
       
  6. Exclusion of a Service or Assistance Animal
     
    1. Reasons for Exclusion: RIT may exclude a Service or Assistance Animal if:
       
      1. The animal is not under the direct physical control of the Owner;
         
      2. The animal is not housebroken;
         
      3. The animal’s behavior is disruptive to its surroundings or other members of the RIT community;
         
      4. The animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others;
         
      5. The animal’s presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity; or
         
      6. The Owner fails to comply with any of her/his responsibilities under this policy.
         
    2. Process for Exclusion

      Any member of the RIT community may submit a complaint seeking to exclude a Service or Assistance Animal. The complaint shall identify one or more reasons for the exclusion, as enumerated in this policy. See C13.0(VI)(A)(1-6). Failure to identify the specific reason(s) for the exclusion of a Service or Assistance Animal shall result in the denial of the complaint.
       
  7. ​​​​​​​Complaints shall be in writing and can be filed with the RIT Disability Services Office, RIT Human Resources, RIT Public Safety, or Residence Life.
     
  8. An investigation will be commenced by the appropriate department and a determination will be made with respect to any alleged violations of this policy. The determination will be provided to the Owner and the individual submitting the complaint.
     
  9. If the investigation determines that any provision of this policy has been violated by a student, the matter will be referred to the Student Conduct Office/ Center for Residence Life for proceedings consistent with the provisions of the Student Conduct Process (D18.0).   If the investigation determines that any provision of this policy has been violated by an employee, the matter will be referred to Human Resources for further investigation.
     
  10. In addition to the warnings and sanctions outlined in the Student Conduct Process (D18.0), a finding substantiating the violation of this policy may also lead to the exclusion of the animal. In the event the animal is excluded from RIT housing, the owner will continue to be obligated to fulfill their housing obligation for the remainder of the housing contract.


Responsible Office:
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Department of Human Resources

Effective Date:
Approved December 12, 1990

Policy History:
Edited August 2010
Revised April 17, 2013
Revised March 21, 2018

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