Assistance Animal Policy

William Paterson University Assistance Animal Policy

Definitions:

Assistance Animals:

As defined under the Fair Housing Act (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=servanimals_ntcfheo2013-01.pdf ) Assistance Animals includes Service Animals as well as Emotional Support Animals that have been documented as providing passive emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability, allowing them to benefit from WPU’s residential program.  Animals providing these passive services are referred to as Emotional Support animals.

Service Animal: 

As defined by the ADA (http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm), a service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform an active task that mitigates or partially mitigates the impact of the handler’s disability.

The ADA also recognizes similarly trained miniature horses as an alternative to dogs.  Many of WPU's current residential facilities are not suitable for housing miniature horses. Accommodation of a miniature horse as a service animal will be determined under ADA guidance, including an assessment of (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

Emotional Support Animals:

Emotional Support Animals (also known as Assistance animals) do not qualify as Service Animals, but can be a reasonable accommodation if they have been documented by an appropriate health care provider as providing passive emotional support that alleviates one or more symptoms of a person’s disability or serves a defined role in the person’s treatment and is necessary for program participation. The University reserves the right to seek an independent assessment by an appropriate health care provider concerning the need for such animals at its own expense. 

Therapy Animals

Therapy Animals are animals in the company of their handlers who are visiting the University to provide short-term services. Therapy Animals have been trained to provide wellness, stress reduction, or therapeutic short-term visits and are made available to members of the University Community on a transient basis in specific locations. These programs are initiated by University departments and are not subject to this policy.

Pets:

All other privately owned animals.

Handler:

A student with a disability who utilizes a Service or Emotional Support Animal.

Common Policies for Service & Emotional Support Animals

Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus.  Emotional Support Animals may be allowed in residential facilities on request as a reasonable accommodation. This is an exception to Residence Life’s No Pets Policy. Emotional Support Animals are not allowed in academic areas.

All animals are the responsibility of their handlers and should be under their control (i.e. in proximity to the owner and responsive to commands, in a harness, or leashed) in public spaces.  An animal’s behavior is considered the handler’s behavior and will be held to the same basic standard of conduct as their handlers.  If they are disruptive to university business or reasonable behavioral expectations for educational, medical, and residential environments, handlers may be asked to correct the animal’s behavior or remove it from the environment. 

If you have questions or concerns related to these policies, please contact the Office of Disability Services at disability2@wpunj.edu or (973) 720-2853.

Responsibilities of All Persons with Disabilities Using Service or Emotional Support Animals

All animal owners are responsible for any damage caused by their animals on campus and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. If a student’s service or assistance animal causes damage to university property, the cost of the damage will be assessed and assigned to the student’s bill.

The cost of care, arrangements and responsibility for the well-being of authorized animals are the sole responsibility of the owner at all times.  Assistance animals housed in the residence halls must be appropriately secured when left unattended and must not be left unattended for more than a few hours.  The length of time that an animal can be left unattended depends on the species, breed, age, and temperament of the animal.  During emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm, emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the animal. Assistance animals may not be left unattended in parked cars or tied or chained to poles, fences, etc. on campus.

In order to be on campus, Service or Emotional Support Animals must:

  •  Meet Legal Requirements: All requirements for the presence of animals in public places (vaccinations, licensure, ID tags, etc.) mandated by state or local ordinances must be followed, including but not limited to licensing: the animal must meet licensing requirements and wear the tags if the animal is residing on campus. If the animal accompanies a commuter student and resides in another town, the animal must meet the licensing requirements of the student’s resident town and wear the tags designated by that community.  Students authorized to bring service or support animals to campus must provide documentation of licensing on an annual basis. Records of such are to be maintained by the Office of Disability Services.
  • Be Under Control of the Owner: The animal must be under full control of the owner at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from all assistance animals while on campus. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ appropriate training techniques to correct the situation. In addition:
    • When outside of the owner’s residence, the animal must be on a leash or caged at all times. It should never be permitted to wander the campus without a leash even when accompanied by the owner.
    • The animal must be as unobtrusive as possible when in the presence of other members of the University community.
    • Animals must be house-trained. The animal must urinate or defecate in a litter box, in a cage, or outside.
    • Assistance animals are prohibited from kitchens and food preparation areas except those in apartment or residence facilities.

 

  • Consequences for misbehavior: The assistance animal is held to the conduct and etiquette stated in this policy. The handler is fully responsible for all actions of the assistance animal. When an assistance animal is determined to be out of control or otherwise in violation of this Policy, the University will take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of its members. Consequences for animal misconduct may include, but are not limited to: muzzling a barking dog, refresher training for the animal and its handler, or removal from University facilities. If the actions of the animal result in a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the owner may be charged accordingly.

 

  • Adhere to Cleanup Rule: The owner must follow local clean up ordinances when the animal defecates. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own assistance animal are still responsible for ensuring that waste is disposed of properly.

Conflicting Needs

It is common for persons to have a condition that precipitates an allergic reaction to animals. Residence Life staff, potential and/or actual roommate(s)/suitemate(s), and/or faculty members will be notified of the anticipated presence of an animal. This information will be shared with the intent of preparing for the Service or Emotional Support Animal and/or resolving any potential issues associated with the presence of the Service or Emotional Support Animal. .Persons (including University faculty or staff) who have asthma/allergy/medical issues when in prolonged close proximity with an authorized animal on campus are to be directed to make this known to the Office of Disability Services. In the event that a complaint is made by a faculty or staff member, then the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Disability Services will collaborate to reach a solution. The person making the complaint must provide verifiable medical documentation to support his/her claim. Action will be taken to consider the needs of both persons to resolve the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The guidelines addressing such conflicting needs apply in the residence halls as well. If there is an allergy/animal conflict within a residence hall that cannot be resolved between the two parties, then the Office of Residence Life and the Office of Disability Services will collaborate to reach a solution. Residence Life assigns residents with animals in specific areas that will facilitate easier transition for the animal and the student.  

Responsibility of Students Using Service or Emotional Support Animals on Campus

If a student has a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal trained to assist in the amelioration of a recognized disability and wishes to bring the animal on campus, the student must do the following:

  • Contact Residence Life upon admission to the University, to inform of your intention to live on campus with the assistance of an animal, so that an appropriate assignment can be scheduled early in the assignment process.     
  • Complete either a Service Animal Documentation Form or an Emotional Support Animal Request Form at the Office of Disability Services (ODS) prior to the animal being on campus. Forms can be found on the ODS website at: http://www.wpunj.edu/disabilityservices/forms.dot
  • Provide documentation to ODS showing proof that the animal is licensed consistent with State and local law.
  • Provide documentation that the animal has had all required vaccinations. Please submit a vaccination certificate or letter indicating a clean bill of health and up to date vaccinations from your veterinary health provider at the start of each academic year.
  • Review and sign appropriate forms and agreements as requested at the start of each academic year.
  • In addition, the student has the option to request an Animal Authorization Card which, once signed by the Director of the Office of Disability Services, will assist in identifying the service or emotional support animal.
  • All above documentation should be submitted in person to the Office of Disability Services  or and be delivered as follows: 

E-mail, Fax or Mail the statement to:

Jacqueline Safont, Director

Office of Disability Services

safontj@wpunj.edu

(973) 720-2853 phone

(973) 720-3293 fax

 

Removal of Service and Emotional Support Animals from Campus

In cases of imminent danger or threat to the animal or others, Campus Police Officers or Resident Directors may order the immediate removal of an assistance animal.  Non-emergency removals may be authorized by the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development or designee. In such cases, the owner will be notified in writing that the animal must be removed, including the reasons for removal. An assistance animal may be ordered removed from any area on the campus and may be prohibited from University facilities for the following reasons:

  •    Disruption: An owner may be directed to remove an assistance animal from a public or common area on campus when the animal  is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, snapping, running around, bringing attention to itself,       jumping up on people, escaping from cage or leash). If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the animal to campus until the owner can demonstrate that s/he has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior.
  •    Threatening behavior: An assistance animal may be excluded from the campus when that animal’s behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others including other assistance animals. Any animal that exhibits aggressive or unsafe behavior may be prohibited from University facilities.
  •    Ill health: Assistance animals that are ill should not be taken into public or common areas on campus. An owner with an ill assistance animal may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities.
  •    Uncleanliness: Owners must ensure that their animals are kept in sanitary conditions, and are clean and well-groomed. An owner of an animals who condition is excessively unclean or unsanitary (e.g., flea infested, foul-smelling and/or shedding excessively, urinating or defecating inappropriately) may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities.

 

Should an owner’s assistance animal be ordered removed from campus and prohibited for any reason, ODS may afford the owner the option of replacing the assistance animal or continuing to attend the University with other reasonable accommodations, but without an assistance animal on campus.

Public Etiquette by the Service/Emotional Support Animals

The animal:

  • Must not be allowed to sniff people, store shelves, tables in eating areas, or personal belongings of others.
  • Must not initiate contact with someone without the owner’s direct permission.
  • Must not display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, such as barking, whining, or growling; scratching doors or chewing on furniture or personal belongings of others.
  • Must avoid excessive personal grooming in public settings.
  • Must not block an aisle or passageway.
  • Must be trained not to be attracted to food that may be in common areas.
  • Be housetrained when accompanying the owner inside campus facilities.

 

A handler may be issued a verbal or written warning by University staff whenever an assistance animal exhibits poor etiquette on campus. Such warnings will be documented on a Public Safety Incident Report or report filed by a Residence Life Staff member, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the behavior.  All such reports will be sent to the Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution. Following an etiquette warning, the handler is expected to take action to train the animal to prevent re-occurrence of the offending behavior. If etiquette warnings for animal misconduct are repeatedly issued to a handler, the service or support animal may be ordered to be removed from University facilities, or the handler may be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Service Animal Policy

Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus (exceptions may exist in areas requiring protective clothing for access).  If a Service Animal’s role is not obvious the handler may be asked if it is a service animal for a disability and what service it performs. If the handler plans to live in the residence hall and utilize a Service Animal, the handler must work with Residence Life and the Office of Disability Services on arranging housing.

The handlers will be required to meet the requirements outlined in the “Responsibility of Students Using Service or Emotional Support Animals on Campus” section of this document.

Any questions can be referred to:

 

Jacqueline Safont, Director

Office of Disability Services

safontj@wpunj.edu

(973) 720-2853 phone

(973) 720-3293 fax

 

Emotional Support Animal Policy

Emotional Support Animals approved for the residential setting by Residence Life and the Office of Disability Services are not permitted in academic areas. The use of an Emotional Support Animal can be a reasonable accommodation. It is an exception to Residence Life’s No Pets Policy in the residential setting (http://www.wpunj.edu/reslife/handbook.dot). An approved Emotional Support Animal is allowed in the room and common spaces associated with the residence hall when under the control of its handler.

To request an Emotional Support Animal as an accommodation, you and your healthcare provider must complete the Emotional Support Animal Request Form. All completed documentation must be received one (1) month prior to the beginning of the term and must be resubmitted on an annual basis. 

The handlers will be required to meet the requirements outlined in the “Responsibility of Students Using Service or Emotional Support Animals on Campus” section of this document.

Any questions can be referred to:

Jacqueline Safont, Director

Office of Disability Services

safontj@wpunj.edu

(973) 720-2853 phone

(973) 720-3293 fax 

 

Residential Guests and Service Animals

Resident students who are requesting a guest pass for a guest with a disability who may be accompanied by a service animal, should disclose to Residence Life staff that the guest will be accompanied by an animal which is a service animal. Students are responsible for assuring that their guests and guests’ service animal comply with this policy when on campus.

Appeal Procedures

 A decision to deny approval of a Service or Emotional Support Animal or to remove a previously approved animal may be appealed in writing to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development. Appeals must be received within 10 days and state a specific reason(s) for why the owner believes the request should be reconsidered. The Dean may consider records and information relevant to the owner’s reconsideration request, whether submitted by the owner or obtained from any University office or staff person, including ODS and the Public Safety Office. Decisions on Service or Emotional Support Animal appeals shall be issued in writing and shall be the final administrative actions of the University.

If the owner believes the denial or removal of a Service or Emotional Support Animal may be discriminatory or a denial of a reasonable accommodation under the protections afforded to disabled students under federal law or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the owner may submit a written complaint to the Director of Employment Equity and Diversity.  If an owner alleges discrimination based upon a protected category in an appeal letter, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development shall refer the appeal to the Director of Employment Equity and Diversity for a confidential investigation. The Director of Employment Equity and Diversity administrative decision shall be the final actions of the University.

Contacts:

Residence Life: Patricia Whiteman, Associate Director, athome@wpunj.edu or 973-720-2714

Office of Disability Services: Jacqueline Safont, Director, disability2@wpunj.edu or 973-720-2853

Student Development: Glen Sherman, Ph.D., Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development, shermang@wpunj.edu or 973-720-2742

Office of Employment Equity and Diversity:Michelle Johnson, Director, Title IX Coordinator, johnsonm73@wpunj.edu  or 973-720-2389

 

 

 Janaury 6, 2016