Assistance animals are animals which provide active or passive support that alleviates or at least partially mitigates an impact of a person’s disability allowing them to benefit from the programs and services at Washington College.
A service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform an active task that mitigates or partially mitigates the impact of the handler’s disability. Service animals may accompany the person (handler) at all times and in all campus locations (exceptions may exist in sterile environments and areas requiring protective equipment or clothing for access). Service animals are not pets, therefore laws that restrict pets from public places (e.g. restaurants, housing, theaters) are not applicable to service animals. If a service animal’s role is not apparent by observation you may be asked “Is that a service animal for a disability?” and “What service does it perform for you?”
Service Animal Etiquette
- Address the handler when approaching a service animal.
- Remember that service animals are working and are not pets.
- Do not touch the service animal, or the person it assists, without the handler’s permission.
- Do not make noises at, or deliberately startle the service animal; this action could distract the animal from performing its job.
- Do not feed the service animal; this could disrupt his/her schedule.
- Do not attempt to separate a service animal from its handler.
- Do not feel offended if a handler does not wish to discuss his/her disability or the assistance their service animal provides.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are animals which provide passive support for individuals with disabilities. The use of an ESA can be a reasonable accommodation to “no pet” policies in some circumstances. Like all accommodations, an individual must request an ESA using the Accommodation Request Process found at this link -https://www.washcoll.edu/offices/disability-services/students/ .
Visiting Therapy Animals
Animals in the company of their handlers that have been trained to make wellness, stress reduction, or therapeutic short-term visits on a transient basis in specific locations.
All animals are the responsibility of their handlers and should be under their control (in proximity to the handler and responsive to commands, in harness, leashed or in a carrier).
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