Policy Number: C13.0

Policy Name: Service Animal, Assistance Animal, and Pet Policy

Scope: All members of the RIT Community

Policy Statement
Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is committed to providing those members of the RIT community with disabilities equal access to programs, services, and physical facilities. It is acknowledged that some members of the RIT community with disabilities may require the use of service or assistance animals while at RIT. Set forth below are guidelines concerning the appropriate use of and protocols associated with Service Animals and Assistance Animals. RIT reserves the right to amend these guidelines as needed, with or without prior notice. Members of the RIT community who are students and require the use of a service or assistance animal should contact the RIT Disability Services Director at 585-475-6988. Members of the RIT community who are faculty and staff and require the use of a service or assistance animal should contact the RIT Human Resources Compliance Manager at 585-475-7393.

  1. Definitions

    1. Service Animal: A dog that a member of the RIT community with a disability requires for use on campus that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of that individual, due to a disability such as a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
  1. Requesting the use of a service or assistance animal as an accommodation due to a disability:

Students who need to request the accommodation of use of a service or assistance animal should contact the RIT Disability Services Director at 585-475-6988 in the Student Alumni Union room 1155. Employees who need to request the accommodation of use of a service or assistance animal should contact the HR Compliance Manager at 585-475-7393 in Eastman Hall room 5000. RIT will determine on a case by case basis and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations whether the animal is a reasonable and appropriate accommodation for the identified disability. Students are encouraged to place their request for use of a service or assistance animal in RIT residences by June 1 for fall term, December 1 for spring term, and April 1 for summer term to afford adequate time to make arrangements. Owners who are in the process of requesting the use of a service or assistance animal are not permitted to have the animal on campus until the process is complete.

  1. Service animals: The RIT Disability Services Director or HR Compliance Manager will inquire if the dog is required because of a disability and how the dog assists the individual, including what work or tasks the dog has been individually trained to perform and require documentation on the letterhead of a treating physician or qualified mental health provider which permits RIT to determine that: (1) the individual has a disability and that (2) there is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides. Determination of reasonable accommodation will include, but is not limited to, consideration of the following: does the animal pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others; would the animal pose an undue financial and administrative burden on RIT; or would the animal fundamentally alter the nature of any of RIT's programs or operations.

  2. Assistance animals: The RIT Disability Services Director or HR Compliance Manager will require documentation on the letterhead of a treating physician or qualified mental health provider which permits RIT to determine that: (1) the individual has a disability (2) the animal is necessary for the individual to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their RIT residence, and that (3) there is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides. Determination of reasonable accommodation will include, but is not limited to, consideration of the following: does the animal pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others; would the animal pose an undue financial and administrative burden on RIT; or would the animal fundamentally alter the nature of any of RIT's programs or operations.

  3. Animal's paperwork requirements: Before a service or assistance animal is permitted on campus as an accommodation, its paperwork must be on file with the Disability Services Office or Human Resources.

    1. Health and vaccination records: The animal must have an annual exam from a licensed veterinarian that does not identify health issues sufficient enough to prevent the animal from providing the necessary assistance to the individual. The animal must also have updated vaccinations, including but not limited to, the general maintenance vaccine series and any vaccinations deemed necessary by a licensed veterinarian. The animal must also wear a rabies vaccination tag.

    2. Licensing: Owner must follow all local or home town licensing laws and tag laws. Town of Henrietta licensing requirements for dogs:

      1. All dogs within the Town four months of age or older, unless otherwise exempted, shall be licensed by the Town.

      2. The following dogs are exempt from the licensing requirements of this article:

        1. Dogs harbored within the Town which are owned by a resident of New York City and licensed by the City of New York, for a period of 30 days;
        2. Dogs harbored within the Town which are owned by a nonresident of New York State and licensed by a jurisdiction outside of New York State, for a period of 30 days)
  1. Owner responsibilities regarding use of a service or assistance animal

    1. Members of the RIT community with a Service Animal: The supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of its owner. The owner must be in full control of their animal at all times, as outlined below. Service animals in RIT housing may not be left for extended periods of time either unattended or to be cared for by someone other than the owner. The owner is expected to insure the health, safety, and humane treatment of their animal and submit annual proof of immunizations to the Disability Services Office or Human Resources. RIT personnel shall intervene if the animal is found unattended, in need of care, or is causing a disturbance.

      1. Under control of owner:

        • The animal must be under the owner's direct physical control with a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the owner is unable because of a disability to use these, or the use of one of these would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. If so, the service animal must be otherwise under the owner's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

        • The animal's behavior must not be disruptive to its surroundings or other members of the RIT community. Disruptive behavior includes, but is not limited to, jumping on people, barking, growling, taking food from dining area tables, or taking personal belongings of individuals other than the owner.

      2. Proximity to owner: While on campus, in areas including classes, public areas of residences, food venues, or assembled gatherings, the animal must be in close physical proximity to the owner.

      3. Identification: A service animal must wear some type of commonly recognized service animal identification symbol when in public.

      4. Clean up and grooming requirements: The care of the animal is solely the responsibility of its owner. The animal must be housebroken. The owner shall:

        • Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the dog's waste and immediately remove and dispose of the waste. Members of the RIT community who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of animal waste are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance. RIT is not responsible for this task.

        • Keep the animal clean, well groomed, and free of pests. If RIT facilities are used to bathe the animal, the owner will clean the area when done.

    2. Members of the RIT community with an assistance animal in university housing: The animal is only permitted within the owner's residence. The supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of its owner. The owner must be in full control of the animal at all times, as outlined above in Section III.A. Assistance animals in RIT housing may not be left for extended periods of time either unattended or to be cared for by someone other than the owner. The owner must insure that the animal is housebroken and observe cleanup and grooming requirements outlined above in Section III.A. The owner is expected to insure the health, safety, and humane treatment of their animal and submit annual proof of immunizations as required to the Disability Services Office or Human Resources. RIT personnel shall intervene if the animal is found unattended, is in need of care, or is causing a disturbance.

  2. Lack of cleanliness and damages caused by the service or assistance animal

All members of the RIT community are responsible for any extra cleaning required or damage to RIT property which is caused by them. The owner shall also be responsible for any extra cleaning required or damage to RIT property which is caused by the service or assistance animal.

  1. The owner's residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks, or other pests during the regularly scheduled housing inspection. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence or work area will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a university-approved pest control service. The owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment.

  2. The owner's residence may be inspected to ensure it is being properly cleaned and that sanitary and safe conditions are being maintained. If required, the owner will be billed for the expense of the additional cleaning required.

  3. The owner's residence may be inspected for physical damage during the regularly scheduled housing inspection. The owner will be billed for the expense of any damage to the RIT residence or RIT furnishings within the residence that are caused by the animal.
  1. Managing disabling conditions and concerns of all members of the RIT community

    1. Within RIT facilities, members of the RIT community with medical condition(s) that are affected by dogs (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Disability Services or Human Resources if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a dog in an RIT facility and require accommodation.

    2. Within all of RIT housing, the health and well-being of all roommates, suitemates, and building occupants will be considered.

      • Members of the RIT community with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Disability Services or Human Resources if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an animal and require accommodation. Students are encouraged to contact Disability Services as early as possible to afford adequate time to make other housing arrangements if needed. Changes in housing placements for students who make requests after June 1 for fall term, December 1 for spring term, and April 1 for summer term will be will be subject to availability.

      • Roommates/suitemates will be made aware of the planned presence of an animal in their residence by Housing Operations staff. They will be asked to sign an acknowledgment stating that they understand they will be living in the presence of an animal and are aware of how to address concerns if needed.

  2. Exclusion of a service or assistance animal

    1. Reasons for consideration of exclusion of a service or assistance animal:

      RIT may pursue the process for determining if a service or assistance animal should be excluded from campus for the following reasons:

      • The animal is not under the direct physical control of the owner.
      • The animal's behavior is disruptive to its surroundings or other members of the RIT community.
      • The animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
      • The animal's presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity.
      • The owner fails to comply with any of her/his responsibilities under this policy.

    2. Process for consideration of exclusion of a service or assistance animal:

      Any member of the RIT community may submit a complaint about a service or assistance animal, identifying one or more concerns in the areas listed above in Section VII.A.

      1. Persons with concerns are to contact a member of Public Safety or Residence Life. A statement will be taken.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

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