RUL 11.30.07 – Service and Assistance Animals in University-Owned Housing Facilities

Authority: Vice Chancellor and Dean, Division of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA)

History:  First Issued:  November 7, 2016.

Related Policies: 
NCSU REG04.20.05 – Service Animals for Persons with Disabilities 
NCSU POL04.25.05 – Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Statement 

  1.        INTRODUCTION

NC State University allows both Service and Assistance Animals that assist individuals with documented disabilities to fully access and participate in University-owned student housing facilities (“university housing”) and community programs and activities.  Approved Service and Assistance Animals are permitted in university housing in order to ensure equal enjoyment and access to all university housing residents.  Set forth below are specific requirements and guidelines related to Service and Assistance Animals concerning the appropriate use and responsibilities with these animals. NC State may amend these requirements and guidelines as circumstances require.

  1. DEFINITIONS

2.1 “Approved Animal” means a Service or Assistance Animal that has been granted as a reasonable accommodation under this rule.

2.2 “Assistance Animals” means animals that provide emotional support or therapy which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Some, but not all, Assistance Animals are professionally trained, but in other cases Assistance Animals provide the necessary support to individuals with disabilities without any formal training or certification. The important consideration for the Disability Services Office and the NC State unit responsible for the university housing is whether or not the animal performs the assistance or provides the benefit needed as a reasonable accommodation by the person with the disability. Unlike a Service Animal, an Assistance Animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living, nor does it accompany a person with a disability at all times. Assistance Animals may be considered for access to university housing, however, they are not permitted in other areas of the university (e.g. libraries, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, student centers, etc.).

2.3 “Owner” means the individual who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring an Assistance Animal into university housing.

2.4 “Service Animal” means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal as defined by American with Disabilities Act that are individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing animal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assist during a seizure, help individual with dissociative identity to remain grounded, assist with balance or stability or fetching dropped items.  If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal for purposes of this regulation even if it has not been licensed or certified by a state or local government, or by a private agency.

  1.      REQUEST AND REGISTRATION

3.1 Students who reside or will reside in university housing, and who wish to bring assistance or service animals onto university property as an accommodation for a disability, must request the university’s permission to keep the animal in a residential facility. Permission will be granted only as an accommodation for a documented disability and must be arranged in advance through the Disability Services Office (“DSO”), prior to bringing the animal onto University property.

3.2 A student requesting permission to have an assistance animal in university housing must provide the DSO with appropriate documentation on or before the university housing application deadline.  The documentation for the need of the animal shall generally include the following information:

-Verification of the individual’s disability from a physician, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional.

-Statement on how the animal serves as an accommodation; and

-Statement on how the need for the animal relates to the ability of the resident to pursue and enjoy the living arrangements provided by the university.

In addition to registering the request for a Service or Assistance Animal with DSO, the requesting individual must complete and return either the university housing’s Service Animal or Assistance Animal registration form.

3.3 If the need for the Service or Assistance Animal arises after a student is already placed in housing for the year, the student should provide the documentation to the DSO at least sixty (60) days prior to the date the student would like to bring the animal to the university housing. Students making requests after housing assignments have been made should note that even if the animal is approved, they may be required to wait until the following semester to bring the Approved Animal to campus, depending on their current housing arrangements.

3.4 The DSO will assist the NC State unit responsible for the university housing in determining whether the request represents a reasonable accommodation. The university may consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with Assistance Animals:

-The size of the animal is too large for available assigned housing space;

-The animal’s presence would force another individual to be removed or reassigned from their university housing (e.g. serious allergies);

-The animal’s presence otherwise violates individuals’ rights to peace and quiet enjoyment;

-The animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to others or displays aggressive behavior, including injuring the individual or others;

-The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;

-The animal’s vaccinations are not up-to-date;

-The animal would cause or has caused substantial damage to University property or the property of others; and/or

-The stay of the animal fundamentally alters the university housing policies and programs.

  1.     RESPONSIBILITIES AND GUIDELINES

4.1       Responsibilities

4.1.1 The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the assigned university housing or cause difficulties for others who reside there.

4.1.2 The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage.

4.1.3 The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to University premises beyond reasonable wear and tear. The Owner’s responsibility includes, but is not limited to, replacement of furniture, carpet, window, wall covering, and the like. The university will bill the Owner’s account for these expenses.

4.1.4 The Owner must notify the NC State unit responsible for the university housing in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed as an Approved Animal or no longer resides with the Owner.  To replace an Approved Animal the Owner must file a new request.

4.1.5 The supervision of the Approved Animal is the responsibility of Owner.  The Owner is required to ensure control of the animal at all times.  The Owner shall not permit the Approved Animal to be unleashed or run at large.

4.1.6 The Owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the Approved Animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner and, when provided, must use animal relief areas designated by the NC State unit responsible for the university housing.  Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash dumpsters. The Owner must arrange for removal of animal waste if they are personally unable to perform the task.

4.1.7 The Owner is responsible for the overall health and well-being of the animal, including all costs and expenses related to vaccinations and veterinary care.

4.1.8 The Owner must abide by any applicable city and county ordinances, and state laws and/or regulations pertaining to vaccination and any other requirements for the Approved Animal.  The Owner bears the responsibility for knowing and understandings these ordinances, laws, and/or regulations.

4.2.      Guidelines

4.2.1 Pest Inspection.  The Owner’s residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests as needed. The university will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence 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 above and beyond standard pest management in university housing.

4.2.2 Disclosure.  The DSO will disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the Approved Animal to the NC State unit responsible for the university housing, who will then notify those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, University personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include information related to the individual’s disability.

4.2.3  Roommate Agreement.  All roommates or suitemates of the Owner will be notified of the Approved Animal to be in residence with them. In the event that there are concerns raised related to the presence of the approved animal, either the Owner and Approved Animal or the concerned  roommates or suitemates, as determined by the university, may be moved to a different location.

4.2.4 Room Assignment.  To ensure that the presence of Approved Animals is not an undue administrative burden or fundamental alteration of the university housing environment, the university reserves the right to assign an individual with an Approved Animal to a single or private room without a roommate, if available.

4.2.5 Access to Campus.  Service Animals may travel freely with their owner throughout university housing and other areas of the NC State campus not otherwise restricted to animals. Assistance Animals are not allowed in other buildings on campus, including classrooms, libraries, student unions, administrative buildings, Student Health Center, or dining facilities. Assistance Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residence at all times, except when transported outside the private residence in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. Assistance Animals are not permitted in any public areas of the residential community, including lounges, bathrooms, or shared suite or apartment space.

4.2.6 Vaccination. In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. The NC State unit responsible for the university housing will consult with the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine to determine required vaccines.

4.2.7 Health. All Approved Animals must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health. The university maintains the authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention, and may remove the Approved Animal upon any evidence of mistreatment or abuse.

4.2.8 Training. Service Animals must be properly trained.

4.2.9  Containment.  The Approved Animal must be contained, cages or animal carriers, when the Owner is not present in the assigned residence. Approved Animals may not be left for any period of time in university housing to be cared for by any individual other than the Owner.

4.2.10 Emergency Care of Animal.  University personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any Approved Animal including, but not limited to, removing 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.

4.2.11 Relocation.  The university has the ability to relocate the Owner and Approved Animal as necessary in accordance with the Owner’s current contractual agreements.

4.2.12 Compliance with University housing Rules.  The Owner agrees to continue to abide by all other university housing rules. Reasonable accommodations which may constitute an exception to these rules that otherwise would prohibit having an animal does not constitute an exception to any other rules or standards.

  1.      REMOVAL

5.1 The university may remove or require the immediate removal of the Approved Animal if:

-the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others;

-the animal causes substantial property damage to the property of others;

-the animal is not housebroken;

-the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of a University services, programs, or activities;

-the Owner does not comply with the Owner’s Responsibilities or any rules set forth above; or

-the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the university housing community.

5.2 Any removal of the animal will be done after consultation with the DSO.  The university will base such determinations upon consideration of the behavior of the particular animal at issue, and not on speculation or fear about the harm or damages an animal may cause.  In the event the university determines the Approved Animal must be removed, the animal may be removed from campus in any manner deemed necessary by University officials.

5.3 In addition to the removal of the Approved Animal, University officials may refer the resident to the Office of Student Conduct and/or University Police.

5.4 Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

  1.    APPEALS

6.1  The requesting student may appeal a denial of a request for a Service or Assistance Animal or the decision to remove the Owner’s animal within five (5) business days to the ADA/504 Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.

6.2 Appeal requests should include the reason for appeal, and any additional documentation beyond what was included with the original request.  The decision of the ADA/504 Coordinator or their designee is the final University decision on the matter.