Guideline UL-ADG18 Service Animals

Main Policy Content

Only service animals are allowed in the library. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog/animal is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions:

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

Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog or service animal, require that the dog or service animal demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.

Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

  • No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.  At Penn State, an emotional support animal’s access is restricted to the housing environment.

​Policies and resources

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
FAQ Service Animal Emotional Support Animal
Law The law that allows a trained service dog to accompany a person with a disability is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.  At Penn State, an emotional support animal’s access is restricted to the housing environment.
PSU Policy AD66 Service Animal Policy N/A
Definition Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA), as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. An animal (typically dog or cat though this can include other animals) that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship.
Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals? No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. N/A
Requirements for service animals (AD66 Service Animal Policy):
  • Leash: Dogs and must be on a leash at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to owner/keeper’s disability.
  • 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 owner/keeper.
  • Cleanup Rule: The owner/keeper of a service animal must ensure cleaning up of any Penn State property the animal might soil.
  • Service Dogs in Training: Under Pennsylvania law, individuals with disabilities who use guide or support animals, or trainers of such animals, are entitled to equal opportunity in all aspects of employment and education, as well as equal access to and treatment in all public accommodations, and any housing accommodation or commercial property without discrimination.
Can these animals be asked to leave? (AD66 Service Animal Policy)
  • Yes, a service animal may be removed from a Penn State facility or program if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
    • For example, a service animal that displays vicious behavior towards people may be excluded. Excessive barking in a classroom or during a program is an example of disruption.
  • Service animals may also be excluded in areas where the presence of a service animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity, or is disruptive.
    • Examples may include, but are not limited to: research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, food preparation areas, and animal research labs.

Call Penn State Police, 863-1111 for assistance. Questions related to the use of service animals on campus should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at 814-863-0471.

At Penn State, an emotional support animal’s access is restricted to the housing environment. 
Chart created by Carmen Gass 04/06/2018
Service Animals (for printing purposes)
Effective Date: June 2018

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • February 2022 - Updated formatting
  • June 2018 – New policy

Last Review Date:  February 2022