Disability Services Office

Service animals

Definition of service animal

A service animal is any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, mental, psychological, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks.

Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation or other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behavior.

Service animal owner’s responsibilities

The service animal’s owner is responsible for:

  • Keeping the animal under direct control
  • Ensuring that the animal is not disruptive
  • Cleaning up after the animal immediately and disposing of waste and debris promptly
  • Dealing with any damage or injury caused by the service animal

Read the UW’s Service Animal Policy (APS 46.6) for additional responsibilities while on University premises.

Employees needing a workplace accommodation, should visit the disability accommodation for employees webpage.

Members of the public with service animals do not need to provide documentation or request an accommodation.

Supervisor/Building Coordinator responsibilities

You must permit service animal access with its owner when it is readily apparent that the animal is trained to perform tasks for the individual. If the need is not apparent, you may ask only the following two questions of the individual:

  • Is the service animal required because of a disability?
  • What tasks has the animal been trained to perform?

You may not ask for any of the following:

  • Information on the nature of the individual’s disability
  • Medical information
  • Documentation or proof that the animal is a service animal
  • Demonstration of the animal’s ability to perform tasks

If you have any doubt that the animal is required because of a disability, admit the animal into the UW facility, and then contact the ADA coordinator. Additionally, read the UW’s Service Animal Policy (APS 46.6) for greater understanding of service animals on University premises.

Additional resources

APS 46.6 Service Animal Policy

APS 46.5 Policy on Reasonable Accommodation of Employees with Disabilities