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Keiser University Service Animal Policy

Policy Statement

Keiser University adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in allowing use of service animals for students, staffs, and visitors. It is the policy of Keiser University that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on any Keiser University campus except as described below.


“Service animal” is defined by the ADA, as amended in 2008 and 2010, as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including 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 task performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service animals are limited to dogs or miniature horses. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA*.

* Department of Justice Revised ADA Regulations Implementing Title II and Title III

Where Service Animals are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

When Service Animals are to Be Removed

A service animal may be disallowed (asked to leave) from a Keiser University facility or program if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others because the animal is not under the control of the owner. Service animals may be also excluded in areas where the presence of a service animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity, or is disruptive. This may include, but is not limited to, research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, and food preparation areas. Other circumstances include, service animals found by the university to be out of control and the animal’s handler does not take immediate and effective action to control the service animal; service animals that are physically ill; service animals that are unreasonably dirty; service animals that attempt to enter a place on campus where their presence causes danger to the safety of the handler or other students/members of the campus, or where the service animal’s safety is compromised. Furthermore, animals not covered under the ADA service animal definition may not be allowed at a Keiser University facility or program.


The university will only be able to ask two questions when it is not obvious what service an animal provides:

  1. Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Administration will not ask for documentation or about the nature of the disability, require medical documentation, require special identification or training documentation for that animal, or ask to witness the animal perform the work or task.

Requirements for the Service Animal

  • Licensing: Dogs must wear a license tag in the local town/city of the particular Keiser University campus. The handler is responsible for complying with the local dog control and licensing laws.
  • Leash: Dogs must be on a harness, leash, or tether at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to the owner/keeper’s disability, or unless such a restraint would interfere with the animal’s ability to safely and effectively perform its duties. 
  • Under Control: The owner/keeper of a service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of the owner/keeper. The owner/handler may be directed to remove the animal if animal behavior is out of control.  The owner/handler may be asked to leave if the animal is not under the control of the owner.
  • Animal Cleanup: The owner/keeper of a service animal is responsible for independently removing or arranging for the removal of the service animal’s waste.
  • Care: The handler is responsible for the costs of care necessary for a service animal’s well-being. The arrangements and responsibilities for the care of the service animal is the sole responsibility of the owner at all times, including regular bathing and grooming, as needed.
  • Animal Etiquette: To the extent possible, the handler should ensure that the animal does not:
    • Sniff people, restaurant tables or the personal belongings of others
    • Display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, unless part of the service being provided the handler
    • Block an aisle or passageway for fire exits

Waste Cleanup

  • Cleaning up after the animal is the sole responsibility of the handler. In the event that the handler is not physically able to clean up after the animal, it is then the responsibility of the handler to hire someone capable of cleaning up after the animal. The person cleaning up after the animal should abide by the following guidelines:
  • Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces whenever the animal is on campus.
  • Properly dispose of waste and/or litter in appropriate containers.
  • Contact staff if arrangements are needed to assist with cleanup. Any cost incurred for doing so is the sole responsibility of the handler*.

* Excerpt from Service and Assistance Animal Policy of Oregon State University

Removal of Service Animals*

Service Animals may be ordered for removal from campus by a security officer or administrator for the following reasons:

  • Out of Control Animal: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it. If the improper animal behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be prohibited from bringing the animal into any university facility until the handler can demonstrate that s/he has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior.
  •  Non-housebroken Animal: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is not housebroken.
  •  Direct Threat: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that KU determines to be a substantial and direct threat to the health and safety of individuals. This may occur because of a very ill animal, a substantial lack of cleanliness of the animal, or the presence of an animal in a sensitive area like a medical facility, certain laboratories or mechanical or industrial areas.

Where a service animal is properly removed pursuant to this policy, KU will work with the handler to determine reasonable alternative opportunities to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

* Excerpt from Service and Assistance Animal Policy of Oregon State University,

Conflicting Disabilities

Some people may have allergic reactions to animals that are substantial enough to qualify as disabilities. KU will consider the needs of both persons in meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

Public Etiquette towards Service or Assistance Animals

Asking someone if they need assistance because there seems to be general confusion is acceptable. However, the below items should not be asked by anyone on campus.

Emotional Support Animals[1] (Flagship Campus Only)

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) [2] or Comfort Animals may be used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals and determination is made on an individual basis. These animals are not considered service animals under the ADA, which makes them ineligible to bring to campus; however, through the interactive process, alternative accommodations/solutions would be discussed. ESAs only apply to Keiser University’s students’ residence situations (Flagship/Off-Campus Housing) because ESAs fall under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) rather than ADA.

For animals to be designated as Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals, resident students are required to demonstrate that their animal is a reasonable accommodation for an emotional or mental health disability. Demonstrating this need requires documentation[3] from a treating medical or mental health professional certifying that the Emotional Support Animal or Comfort Animal is part of a prescribed treatment plan for the disabling condition and alleviates symptoms or effects of a disability. The documentation must contain the following information, from a qualified provider such as licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or mental health professional:

  • Diagnosis and treatment history that indicates a continuing therapeutic relationship between the professional and the individual;
  • the severity of the condition and its impact on the individual’s ability to live in the residence;
  • the provider’s confirmation that 1) the ESA has been prescribed for treatment purposes, and 2) that there is a recognizable relationship or connection between the disability and the assistance the animal provides to alleviate symptoms associated with the individual’s condition.

Residential students must receive approval for their Emotional Support Animal from the Disability Services Office prior to bringing their animal to their residence. With appropriate documentation, ESAs may be permitted to live in the student residence (Flagship/Off-Campus Housing) under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) with the owner responsible for the animal’s well-being. Moreover, an ESA should demonstrate a good temperament and show predictable behavior; and, be able to live with others in a reasonable way.

Note: Emotional distress resulting from having to give up an animal because of a “no pet” policy does not qualify a person for an accommodation under federal law.

[1] Excerpt from Emotional Support Animals & Service Animals policy of Eckerd College,

[2] Excerpt from Emotional Support Animals & Service Animals policy of Eckerd College,

[3] KU is aware of web-based services that offer to create “ESA letters” for a fee, typically based upon answers to an online survey.  Such letters rarely provide sufficient documentation to support a request, and KU generally does not view them as reliable sources of information, please see the criteria for documentation in this guide. Excerpt from Emotional Support Animals policy of Bryn Mawr College.

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