122 Service Animal and Support Animal Policy

Policy Statement:

Murray State College is welcoming of individuals with disabilities who use service or support animals because of a disability. In regard to permitting service and support animals, Murray State College complies with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. The college does not generally permit animals in campus buildings except as this policy accommodates.

Service Animals

Only dogs and miniature horses may be service animals. A service animal is an animal that has been trained to perform specific work or tasks for a person with a disability. The mere provision of emotional support by the animal’s presence does not make an animal a service animal. Common service animal training might include guiding people who are blind or deaf, notifying a person of an imminent seizure, intentionally pawing or nuzzling a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to calm anxiety, reminding a person to take medication, or intentionally applying calming pressure to a person prone to anxiety or panic attacks.

Service animals are permitted everywhere on campus that the animal may reasonably accompany a person with a disability. This includes college transportation, classrooms, offices, residence halls, lounges, and common areas. The college may on a case by case basis exclude the animal from laboratories or other areas where the presence of the animal may cause an unavoidable hazard, health risk, or where the animal’s presence would fundamentally interfere with the service or instruction provided.  When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, or when there is a reasonable basis to conclude that the animal might not be a service animal, staff may make limited inquiries.

Staff may ask only two questions:

(1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a documented disability? and

(2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

The college will not require individuals with service animals to receive permission to have their animal with them on campus, nor will there be any pre-clearance requirement for the presence of the animal on campus. However, pursuant to the two-part inquiry above, reasonable documentation and/or demonstration of the animal’s training may be requested.

The college will not charge a surcharge for deposit for having a service animal in campus housing, but reserves the ability to make appropriate assessments of charges to the owner for any damage or cleaning costs for which the animal is responsible. Students with service animals shall never be segregated from the general population of students or campus visitors.

Support Animals

Support Animals are not service animals. Support animals provide emotional support that alleviates the symptoms or effects of a person’s disability, but might not be specifically trained to perform any task or function, or otherwise meet the limited definition of a Service Animal. The college permits support animals only within residential facilities and outdoors, and not within the remainder of the campus buildings.

An individual may keep a support animal in a residence hall if:

(1) the individual has a disability,

(2) the animal is necessary to permit that individual to use and find comfort in their residential space, and

(3) if there is an actual relationship between the disability and the Support or emotional support that the animal provides to the person.

Support animals are considered an accommodation, and all accommodation requests for the possession of support animals should be made through the ADA Compliance Officer. Certain wild animals or animals prone to community health or safety risk, which cannot perform the role of Support animal in a reasonable manner may not be permitted.

Responsibilities of the Owner:

  • Service dogs or other animals must be kept near the person with a disability and not be permitted to run free.
  • The animal must be compliant with applicable vaccination laws. Students, faculty, and staff who intend, in conformance to this policy, to have an animal with them in campus buildings on a regular basis shall submit to the ADA Compliance Officer a copy of the animal’s vaccination history from a veterinarian or other authorized person to verify compliance with local ordinances.
  • Students intending on having an animal in campus housing must provide the ADA Compliance Officer with an up to date vaccination record for the animal, and must provide notice of this intent prior to the housing application deadline for the applicable semester so that appropriate planning and arrangements can be made, and so that proper notice can be provided to potential roommates and suitemates.
  • The animal be restrained with a harness, leash, or tether of some kind unless the nature of the disability and the animal’s training precludes such physical restriction.
    • If this is the case, the animal must be reliably controlled by voice or a substitute method of restriction.
  • The animal’s excrement or other refuse must be disposed of by the owner in a prompt and hygienic manner.
  • Owners are expected to control the volume of their animal and quell any unreasonable loudness or excitableness.
  • Animals may not under any circumstances be permitted to jump on, lick, nudge, growl at, or otherwise engage another member of the campus community.
  • Animals must be properly cared for, fed, and be maintained in reasonable health with due diligence. The college will not be responsible for cleaning up after an animal, feeding an animal, or watching the animal for any amount of time under any circumstance.


The college may ask an individual to remove an animal from a campus building or from college property if:

  • The animal is disruptive to instruction, services, or the use of facilities.
  • The animal poses a health or safety risk, or a threat.
  • The animal does not have acceptable hygiene or is not housebroken.
  • The animal is not kept under control.
  • The animal is no longer performing a role of disability related service or support.
  • The presence of the animal would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity.
  • The animal’s owner does not clean up after the animal.
  • The college reasonably concludes that the animal is not a service or support animal.
  • The owner does not comply with any other element of this policy.



Murray State College Institutional Policies and Procedures Copyright © by Murray State College. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book