Service and Assistance Animals Policy

September 2016

Princeton University has established the following policy regarding Service Animals and Assistance Animals. This policy may be amended from time to time as circumstances require.

For requests pertaining to Assistance Animals, this policy will be applicable to students residing in University dormitories and rental units that are not designated for pets.

  1. Definitions
  2. Who Qualifies?
  3. Procedures to have Service Animals in University Housing
  4. Procedures for requesting to have Assistance Animals in University housing as a reasonable accommodation
  5. Conflicting Health Conditions
  6. Owner's Responsibilities in University Housing
  7. Areas off Limits to Service and Assistance Animals
  8. Removal of Approved Animal
  9. Emergency Situations
  10. Violations
  11. Complaints
  12. University Roles and Responsibilities
  13. Contact Information



1. Definitions

Service Animal

  • An adult dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. In some cases, a miniature horse may be permitted as a Service Animal. All other types of animals do not qualify as Service Animals.

  • The work or task a Service Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Examples of such work or tasks conducted by a Service Animal include but are not limited to:

    • Guiding people who are blind;
    • Alerting people who are deaf; or
    • Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure.
  • Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support are not Service Animals, but may qualify as Assistance Animals (see section below).
  • Service Animals are permitted throughout campus with the exception of certain locations because of health and safety restrictions (i.e., where the animals or others may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research).

Assistance Animal

  • Unlike a Service Animal, an Assistance Animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living, nor does it accompany a person with a disability at all times. 

  • An Assistance Animal is an adult animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability, or other kinds of assistance.

  • Assistance Animals, once approved, are only permitted in University dormitories or rental units.  Assistance Animals are not permitted in other areas of University buildings (e.g. libraries, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, student center, etc.).

Pet

  • An animal kept for ordinary use and companionship unrelated to a disability.
  • A pet is not considered a Service Animal or an Assistance Animal. It is not covered by this policy.

Approved Animal

Service Animal that has been approved or Assistance Animal that has been approved as a reasonable accommodation under this policy.

Owner

An individual with a disability who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring the Approved Animal on campus.

Emergency Contact

An individual who will take responsibility for an Approved Animal in the event that the Owner cannot be reached during an emergency.  The Owner will include the identity and contact information of the Emergency Contact on the Approved Animal Registration Form.

2. Who Qualifies?

Service Animal:  Students may keep a Service Animal in their dormitory or rental unit as well as other venues on campus if:

  1. The individual has a disability;
  2. The dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the individual with a disability; and
  3. The work or task that the dog has been trained to provide is directly related to the person’s disability.

Assistance Animal:  Students may keep an Assistance Animal in their dormitory or rental unit that does not have a private entrance as a reasonable accommodation if:

  1. The individual has a disability.
  2. The animal is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing; and
  3. There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.


3. Procedures to have Service Animals in University Housing

Students seeking to have a Service Animal reside in University housing are required to follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Students must submit the appropriate request forms on a timely basis in order to be assigned an acceptable housing location with their Service Animal, considering the student’s needs and preferences.  For incoming students, the Disabilities and Other Special Needs form as well as the Housing form must be completed.  All other students must apply through the Special Needs Housing process or register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to make the request.

    The Disabilities and Other Special Needs and Disability Services registration forms are available on the Office of Disability Services website.  Information about applying for special needs housing is available from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
     
  2. Students must register with the Office of Disability Services.  Students approved for a Service Animal will be contacted by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life to arrange a meeting to review the requirements and responsibilities as outlined in this policy.

    Upon approval of a Service Animal, residential building staff, Public Safety and other pertinent University offices and administrators will be notified as appropriate. The student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) will be notified (if applicable) to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval, and notify them that the Service Animal will be residing in shared assigned living space.

4. Procedures for requesting to have Assistance Animals in University housing as a reasonable accommodation

Students seeking to have an Assistance Animal reside in University housing are required to follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Students must submit the appropriate request forms on a timely basis in order to be assigned an acceptable housing location with their Assistance Animal, considering the student’s needs and preferences.  For incoming students, the Disabilities and Other Special Needs form as well as the Housing form must be completed.  All other students must apply through the Special Needs Housing process or register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to make the request.  In addition, the student must submit documentation of his/her disability. 

    The Disabilities and Other Special Needs and Disability Services registration forms are available on the Office of Disability Services website.  Information about applying for special needs housing is available from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
     
  2. Documentation for an Assistance Animal request must follow The Office of  Disability Services’ guidelines for documentation of disability, and should generally include the following information:
    1. Verification of the individual’s disability from a physician, psychiatrist, or other qualified health professional;
    2. Statement on how the animal serves as an accommodation for the documented disability, and
    3. Explanation of why the assistance of the animal is necessary to the ability of the resident/student or live-in family member to use and enjoy the living arrangements provided by the University. 
    4. Current documentation meeting Princeton’s guidelines based on the type of disability. For psychological disabilities, the Psychological Disabilities Diagnostic Form as well as the Assistance Animal addendum must be completed.  Please review the Office of Disability Services’ guidelines for documentation of disability. 

Students whose request for the accommodation of an Assistance Animal has been approved will be contacted by ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life to arrange a meeting to review the requirements and responsibilities as outlined in this policy.

Students whose request for an Assistance Animal is not granted will have the opportunity to appeal such decisions.  Students will receive information about the appeals process upon notification of the decision on the request.  The process for resolving issues can also be found on the website for the Office of Disability Services.

Upon approval of an Assistance Animal, residential building staff, Public Safety and other pertinent University offices and administrators will be notified as appropriate.

Upon approval of an Assistance Animal, the student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) will be notified (if applicable) to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval, and notify them that the Approved Animal will be residing in shared living space.

5. Conflicting Health Conditions

Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, substantial allergies) must contact the Office of Disability Services if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an Approved Animal.  The student raising a concern about the Approved Animal will be asked to provide medical documentation that identifies the condition(s) as a disability and register with the Office of Disability Services; a determination will be made on whether there is need for an accommodation.  The University will provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with such medical conditions as needed.

Housing Office personnel will make a reasonable effort to notify students in University housing where the Approved Animal will be located.

ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life and the Office of Disability Services will resolve any conflict as a result of the presence of an Approved Animal in a timely manner, considering the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all persons involved.  University Health Services may be used as a resource for information on health issues.

6. Owner ’s Responsibilities in University Housing

The Owner is required to comply with all residential policies as well as additional responsibilities including but not limited to:

  1. The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the dormitory or rental unit or cause difficulties for students who reside there.

  2. Care and supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the Owner. The Owner is required to maintain control of the animal at all times.

  3. The Owner is also responsible for ensuring the prompt cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must toilet the animal in areas designated by the University. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied before being disposed of. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.

  4. In the event of the University’s response to a service request in Owner’s dormitory or rental unit, the Owner must contain the Approved Animal and be present during the University’s Facilities staff or contractors visit.  If Owner does not contain the Approved Animal and is not present during the visit, the Facilities staff or contractors will not enter to complete the repair.

  5. The Owner is strongly encouraged to maintain liability insurance coverage for the Approved Animal, in order to protect the Owner and family from risk of significant legal and financial liability.  The Owner will in all cases be held financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal, including any incident where the Approved Animal causes bodily injury to another person, regardless of whether the Owner has obtained insurance coverage.  The Owner’s responsibility further includes (without limitation) replacement of furniture, carpet, window, wall covering, etc. The Owner is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.  The Owner shall have no claim against the University for any financial obligations resulting from the actions of the Approved Animal.

  6. The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to University premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the dormitory or rental unit. The University shall have the right to bill the Owner for unmet obligations.

  7. The Owner must notify ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life  if the Approved Animal is no longer needed as an Approved Animal or is no longer in residence. To replace an Approved Animal the owner must file a new request for reasonable accommodation by contacting ODUS or ODS.

  8. The Owner is responsible for all aspects of the Approved Animal’s health and well-being including the following:
    1. Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations, the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Cats should have the normal shots required for a healthy animal.  The Owner should be prepared to provide documentation showing proof of vaccination upon request.
    2. Health: Animals, other than cats and dogs, must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian's statement regarding the animal's health. The Owner should be prepared to provide documentation showing proof of an annual clean bill of health upon request.  The University has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention.
    3. Licensing: The Owner must comply with any applicable licensing requirements. The University reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed in accordance with licensing requirements of New Jersey’s Office of Animal Welfare.
    4. Training: Approved Animals must be house-broken, as applicable. Service Animals must be fully and properly trained.
    5. Leash: If appropriate, the animal must be on a leash unless the leash would inhibit the animal's ability to be of service.
    6. Other Conditions: ODUS, the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life or the Housing Office may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.
       
  9. The Owner's residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests once a semester or as needed. The housing office for the dormitory or rental unit will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a University-approved pest control service. The Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment.
     
  10. All roommates or suitemates of the Owner that are students in the dormitories or rental units must sign an acknowledgment that the Approved Animal will be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates object, either the Owner and Approved Animal or the objecting roommates or suitemates, as determined by the appropriate Housing office, may be moved to a different location.
     
  11. Approved Animals must not be left unattended overnight in University Housing.  If the Owner leaves campus overnight, the Approved Animal should accompany the Owner.
     
  12. Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill their housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
     
  13. The Owner is responsible for notifying ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life if the Owner’s contact information changes.  Similarly, the Owner is responsible for notification of any changes to the Emergency Contact information.

7. Areas off Limits to Service and Assistance Animals

Areas Off Limits to Service Animals

A Service Animal will be allowed to accompany its Owner at all times and in all places on campus except where animals are specifically prohibited because of health and safety restrictions.  Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to: custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary, wood and metal shops, motor pools, rooms with heavy machinery, food preparation areas including shared student kitchens in dormitories and annexes and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals.

Service Animals may be granted access to restricted areas on a case-by-case basis by contacting ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life and the appropriate department representative.

Areas Off Limits to Assistance Animals

All University buildings, other than the student’s assigned living space or dwelling unit in housing, are off limits to approved Assistance Animals without prior authorization from ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life.  The Assistance Animal may, however, be transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness in public or common areas in the Owner’s path of travel to his or her room. When outside the residence, the Owner of an Assistance Animal shall be prepared to produce evidence provided by ODS that the animal is an Approved Animal.

8. Removal of Approved Animal

The University may exclude/remove an Approved Animal when any of the following occur:

  1. The animal poses an unreasonable threat to the health or safety of others including aggressive behavior.  This behavior includes but is not limited to excessive noise, running around unrestrained, making unwanted contact with others, or growling, biting or threatening others.  For example, an Assistance Animal that makes excessive noise in a dwelling can be very disruptive to other residents.  The Owner may be prohibited from bringing the animal on campus until the Owner takes significant and effective remedial steps to correct the animal’s behavior problems and presents such evidence to ODS.  
     
  2. The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the University's program.
     
  3. The Owner does not comply with Owner's Responsibilities in Unversity Housing (see Section VI).
     
  4. If the Owner fails to clean the cage, box or any enclosed dwelling of a small animal such that the cleanliness of the room is not maintained or in the case of an Assistance Animal such as a cat that deposits waste in an indoor cage or litter box.

9. Emergency Situations

In cases of immediate danger, which may occur when the Approved Animal is out of control or poses a threat of serious injury, observers should contact Public Safety at 609-258-1000.

In the event of emergency situations, Princeton will contact the Owner.  If the Owner cannot be reached, Princeton will contact the person listed as the Emergency Contact.  If the Owner and the Emergency Contact are unreachable, Princeton reserves the right to have the Approved Animal cared for at an appropriate veterinary clinic, at the sole expense of the Owner. University or  Emergency personnel shall have the right to remove the Approved Animal from the Owner’s dormitory or rental unit.

10. Violations

Violations of this policy will be handled by the appropriate disciplinary processes.

In the event of danger to the Approved Animal or others, contact Public Safety at 609-258-1000.

11. Complaints

Students other than the Owner may make a complaint about a violation of this policy to:  ODUS or the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life  under the University’s discipline procedures. Service and Assistance Animals on campus have been approved as an accommodation for a student with a disability. Because of this, third party complaints may not be submitted as complaints about the simple presence of the animal.  Complaints may be made, for example, regarding excessive noise, concerns regarding cleanliness, or aggressive behavior.

12. University Roles and Responsibilities

Office of Disability Services (ODS): ODS receives and reviews documentation in support of a request for an Assistance Animal.   If ODS approves the need for an Assistance Animal, this office supports the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students, the Associate Dean for Student Life  and the University Housing Office throughout the process of working with the student bringing the animal to campus.

Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) or The Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life:  Meets with the student making the request for an Assistance Animal after approval has been given to review policies and procedures and collect appropriate forms including the Approved Animal policy agreement.   ODUS is the point of contact for any questions, concerns or issues relating to having the Assistance Animal on Campus for undergraduate students while the Graduate School Associate Dean for Student Life would address similar concerns for graduate students.

Housing Office:  This office enforces and maintains housing policies on campus.  The Housing Office would be involved when issues arise with conflicting disabilities due to the presence of an Assistance Animal and also relating to any health and cleanliness concerns or property damage issues.

13. Contact Information

Michele Minter
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity; Title IX Coordinator; ADA/Secion 504 Coordinator
Campus Address: 204B Nassau Hall
Email: mminter@princeton.edu
Phone: 609-258-6110
 

Elizabeth Erickson
Director for Disability Services
Campus Address: 241 Frist Campus Center
Email: eerickso@princeton.edu
Phone: 609-258-8840