Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals at PLNU

Point Loma Nazarene University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in allowing use of service animals for students. PLNU complies with the Fair Housing Act in allowing students the use of emotional support animals that are approved as an accommodation. The Human Resources (HR) Office is the point of contact for staff, faculty and visitor procedures for service and emotional support animals on campus.

The following information describes the procedures for the use of service animals and emotional support animals by students registered for classes at the Point Loma Nazarene University main campus and Mission Valley campus. Students enrolled in PLNU College of Extended Learning courses located on Community College satellites and the Bakersfield campus should contact the DRC for assistance and registration before bringing animals on campus.

Definitions

Service Animal - A service animal as per the ADA is defined as: “Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the owner's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, . . . retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, 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 behaviors. 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 for the purposes of this definition.”                         

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) - The Fair Housing Act defines an emotional support animal as any animal that provides emotional support, well-being, or companionship that alleviates or mitigates symptoms of the disability; the animal is not individually trained. Emotional support animals are not limited to dogs and can be other species of animal. Emotional support animals are not considered service animals.

In order to bring an emotional support animal to campus, the Owner/Handler must contact DRC no less than 90 days prior to arrival, in order to permit time to gather all necessary documentation.  Animals should not be brought to campus prior to approval being granted.  The University will make an individualized assessment of each proposed emotional support animal. Dogs must also be completely trained and housebroken.

Owner/Handler - A person with a service animal or emotional support animal.  

Qualifying to have a service or emotional support animal on campus

To qualify for having a service animal on campus:

  • The student must have a disability as defined by the ADA.
  • The accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual; and
  • Students must register with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) office if the service animal will be housed on the campus so that accommodations can be coordinated.
  • The DRC will contact Residential Life as early as possible to permit time to gather and review all necessary documentation.
  • Service animal requests must be renewed each academic year.
  • Students living off campus who require the use of a service animal on campus are required to contact DRC to register as a student with a disability. Information provided to DRC is confidential and specific information about the disability will not be released without the consent of the student.

For a student to qualify to have an emotional support animal (ESA) in his or her residence hall:

  • The student must have a disability as defined by the ADA.
  • The student must be approved and registered with the DRC office.
  • The student must have an already established relationship with the animal.
  • The emotional support animal must be approved through the DRC office as an official accommodation, in conjunction with other offices as needed.
  • The owner must notify the DRC if the animal is no longer needed or is no longer residing on University property.  If the animal will be replaced, the owner must submit a new request.
  • ESA animal requests must be renewed each academic year.

Service animals on campus

Responsibilities and Requirements

Service Animal Owner/Handler:

  • Is responsible to attend to and be in full control of the service animal at all times. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether unless a) the owner is unable to use a harness, leash or tether, or b) using a harness, leash, or tether will interfere with the animal’s ability to safely and effectively perform its duties.
  • Is responsible for ensuring that the service animal is wearing a leash, harness or cape that identifies the animal as a service animal when on duty anywhere on campus.
  • Is responsible for the costs of care necessary for a service animal’s well-being. The arrangements and responsibilities with the care of a service animal is the sole responsibility of the owner at all times, including regular bathing and grooming, as needed.
  • Is responsible for independently removing or arranging for the removal of the service animal’s waste.  Waste must be disposed in a sealed bag in the designated trash area of the residence hall.
  • Is responsible for complying with local and state licensing laws for animal rights and owner responsibilities. Service animals should be current with immunizations and wear a rabies vaccination tag. The owner is responsible for paying for any damage to University property caused by the animal.
  • Animals must leave campus with the student anytime the student leaves overnight and/or during University breaks.
  • The University may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health and safety restrictions or places where the animal might be in danger.  Restricted areas may include but are not limited to food preparation areas, research laboratories, boiler rooms, and other areas prohibited by law.

University Community:

  • Must allow service animals to accompany their owners at all times and everywhere on campus where the general public (if accompanying a visitor) or other students (if accompanying a student) are allowed, except for places where there is a health, environmental, or safety hazard.
  • The appropriate way to ascertain that an animal is a service animal is to ask (only if it is not apparent) if the animal is required because of a disability and what tasks it has been trained to perform. Specific questions about the individual’s disability may not be asked. Contact DRC if any questions or concerns arise relating to service animals.
  • Only two questions can be asked about service animals:
    • Is the Service Animal required because of a disability?
    • What work or task is the dog trained to perform?
  • Do not ask questions about the disability.
  • Do not pet or feed a service animal.
  • Do not attempt to separate the animal from the owner.
  • Do not startle or tease a service animal.
  • Contact HR if faculty/staff have any questions regarding employee/visitors on campus who have service animals.
  • Refrain from charging a fee for the service animal to reside in the residence hall, but may assess usual fees for any damages incurred.
  • Report any service animals who misbehave or any owners (or other individuals) who mistreat their service animals to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

DRC:

  • Is responsible for developing the necessary procedures for the University, coordinating with appropriate administrative offices, and facilitating the use of service animals by students on campus.
  • Assists owners and the University community when questions or concerns arise relating to service animals on campus and seeks legal advice when necessary.

Emotional support animals in university-owned residences

 Responsibilities and Requirements 

 ESA Owner/Handler:

  • Is responsible to attend and be in full control of the emotional support animal at all times. The emotional support animal shall have a harness, leash, tether or be transported in an appropriate enclosure whenever it is outside of the residence hall room where it will be housed.
  • In shared living spaces, the emotional support animal should be in an appropriate container if the owner is not in the room with the animal.
  • Is responsible for following all rules related to the restrictions of animals from buildings on the campus other than their residence hall.
  • Is responsible for the costs of care necessary for the emotional support animal’s well-being. The arrangements and responsibilities for the care of an emotional support animal are the sole responsibility of the owner at all times, including regular bathing and grooming, as needed.
  • Is responsible for not leaving the emotional support animal unattended for an unreasonable length of time.
  • Is responsible for independently removing or arranging for the removal of the emotional support animal’s waste. Waste must be disposed in a sealed bag in the designated trash area of the residence hall.
  • If the ESA voids on the floor or carpet anywhere inside a residence hall, the student is responsible to clean up promptly to the best of their own ability, as well as submit a work request with Facilities Management for the area to be properly disinfected. The student must pay all costs associated with such clean up. Dogs must be housebroken and accidents should be infrequent.
  • Is responsible for complying with local and state licensing laws for animal rights and owner responsibilities. Emotional support animals should be current with immunizations and wear a rabies vaccination tag if appropriate; this information must be kept on file in the DRC.
  • Animals must leave campus with the student if student leaves overnight and during all University breaks if the student leaves campus.
  • Is responsible for paying for any damage to University property or pest treatment caused by the animal.
  • Must abide by all applicable residential policies, including room inspections.
  • Is responsible for notifying DRC and Residential Life if the emotional support animal is no longer needed.
  • Is responsible for renewing ESA requests every academic year.

 University Community:

  • Must allow emotional support animals to reside with their owners in their residence hall room or suite once they are approved as a disability related accommodation.
  • Contact DRC if any questions or concerns arise relating to emotional support animals including any additional questions regarding visitors to campus who have emotional support animals.
  • Report any emotional support animals who misbehave or any owners (or other individuals) who mistreat their emotional support animals to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
  • Refrain from charging a fee for the emotional support animal to reside in the residence hall, but may assess usual fees for any damages incurred.

 DRC:

  • Is responsible for developing the necessary procedures for the University and facilitating the use of emotional support animals by students on campus.
  • Will contact potential roommates and suitemates to determine if other students have any concerns about potentially living with an animal.
  • Assists owners and the university community when questions or concerns arise relating to emotional support animals on campus and seeks legal advice when necessary.
  • If other residents raise concerns about the animal and attempts at mediation are unsuccessful, the owner of the ESA will be provided with an alternate living space on campus and expected to move within a reasonable period of time.

Important considerations

A service or emotional support animal can be asked to leave or not allowed participation on campus if…

  • The animal is found by the University to be out of control or disruptive and the animal’s owner does not take immediate and effective action to control it.
  • The animal is not housebroken or kept in a cage where waste can be managed effectively.
  • The animal is found to be neglected or mistreated and prompt corrective action is not taken.
  • The animal is physically ill.
  • The animal is unreasonably dirty.
  • A service animal attempts to enter a place on campus where the presence of a service animal causes danger to the safety of the owner or other students/member of campus.
  • A service animal attempts to enter any place on campus where a service animal’s safety is compromised.
  • An emotional support animal is brought inside a building other than the approved residence hall.
  • ESA Requests must be renewed every academic year. If the animal is returned to campus without proper renewal, the animal may be removed from campus until approval is complete.

Roommate Considerations

Upon approval of an ESA, or if a student intends to have a service animal in residential housing, the student’s roommate(s) will be notified (if applicable) that the approved animal will be residing in shared assigned living space and to solicit their acknowledgement of such.

  •  All roommates must sign an agreement allowing the approved animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates have concerns, the Office of Residential Life will consult with all of the individuals involved and, based on the circumstances, determine the appropriate course of action.  
  • If at a point later in time there is a conflict between roommates regarding the animal that cannot be resolved amongst the individuals involved, the Office of Residential Life should be contacted.  Appropriate parties will be consulted in order to reach a solution.

 

Significant allergies to animal dander and other concerns

 Concerns of this nature will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. DRC will work in conjunction with The Office of Residential Life to alert potential roommates of the fact that a service or emotional support animal will be present in an effort to address concerns including those related to allergies and objections or fears related to certain types of animals, as early as possible in the housing assignment process.

  • Community and/or residential issues or concerns that may arise during the academic year should be reported in writing as quickly as possible to the DRC via the DRC’s Official email (drc@pointloma.edu). Owners who have concerns about any matter affecting their use of a service or emotional support animal should also contact DRC.

Process for addressing disruptions to the campus community

Service animal or ESA disruptions in the residential hall should be reported to the Residential Director (RD); campus disruptions should be reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

  • A student will receive a written warning from the RD and/or DPS if a complaint(s) is received regarding the animal.   Following the first warning, the student will have the opportunity to rectify the situation and correct the behavior. 
  • If a second complaint is received, the DRC will conduct a further assessment of the situation and the extent of impact to the community. 
  • Following a third complaint or incident, the animal will need to be removed from campus.  Students must identify a person who could come to campus to remove the animal if needed within a reasonable amount of time. This person must be identified during the approval process.
  • The individualized assessment of each incident may lead to escalation of this process, up to and including removal of an animal from campus after a first complaint, depending on the severity of any incident involving any service or support animal.

Important Reminder: Emotional support animals are not allowed anywhere on campus, outside of the residence hall, where animals are not normally allowed. 

  • An ESA may be removed from campus if it is found in any other building on campus, other than the student’s residence hall.
  • All animal owners must abide by applicable local ordinances. California State law requires that all dogs over the age of three months be vaccinated against rabies, and be licensed through the local city and town. Visit this link for more information:  https://www.sddac.com/content/sdc/das/license-laws/license.html
  • Any service or emotional support animal who misbehaves or any owner (or others) who mistreat service or emotional support animals, should be reported to DPS.

Restricted areas

The University may prohibit the use of a Service Animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions.

  • Restricted areas may include but are not limited to food preparation areas, research laboratories or classrooms that contain research animals, areas that require protective clothing, and other areas as required by state or local laws.
  • Exceptions to these restrictions may be requested and will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Approved Emotional Support Animals are permitted only in the residence halls.

Service animal and service animal owner etiquette

  • DO NOT pet, touch or otherwise distract a service animal when it is working. Doing so may Interfere with its ability to perform its duties.
  • DO NOT feed a service animal. Their work depends on a regular and consistent feeding regimen that the owner is responsible to maintain.
  • DO NOT attempt to separate the owner from the service animal.
  • DO NOT harass or deliberately startle a service animal.
  • Avoid initiating conversations about the student’s disability. Some people do not wish to discuss their disability.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE RELATED TO SERVICE ANIMALS AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS

If the decision is made to deny a request for, or remove an animal covered by this policy, the affected individual may file a formal written grievance with the ADA/504 Coordinator pursuant to the DRC grievance procedures.