Service Animals

Policy Type: 

I. Policy Title: Service Animals

II. Who Does This Policy Affect

All HFC Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, employees, students, vendors/contractors and visitors to our campus

III. Purpose

This policy is written to provide clear guidance on the use of service animals by students, staff or visitors on campus and to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Michigan Law statutes sections 750.502c, 752.61 and 752.62.

IV. Policy Statement

HFC will abide by applicable state and federal laws related to allowing service animals on campus. HFC will allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go.

Service Animals working with an individual with a disability or currently in training to do so must be permitted as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Michigan State law, unless to do so would fundamentally alter the nature of the services HFC is providing, or allowing the animal in that specific area would be a violation of a legitimate safety requirement. Individuals using Service Animals do not need to register the animal with the College or submit documentation related to the animal. However, if the student needs any additional accommodation, they would need to register with the Office of Assisted Learning Services. Employees should contact Human Resources for any accommodation requests.

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Allergies or fear of an animal being in the same room as an individual allergic to animal dander are not a sufficient reason to deny access or refuse individuals using a Service Animal. If this situation arises, both parties should be accommodated by assigning them to different locations within the room or facility if possible. Individuals with disabilities cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals.

Who is Responsible for the Care and Supervision of a Service Animal?

The handler is responsible for caring for and supervising the service animal, which includes toileting, feeding, and grooming and veterinary care. Covered entities are not obligated to supervise or otherwise care for a service animal.

V. Definitions

A. Service Animal Training Requirements: The Americans with Disabilities Act and the U.S. Department of Justice have established two training requirements for an animal to be considered a service animal. The first is that a service animal must be trained to perform tasks or work for the benefit of a disabled individual. The second is that a service animal must be trained to behave properly in places of public accommodation. Most animals, including those labeled as companion, comfort, emotional support or therapy animals or pets are NOT service animals under the ADA’s definition as they have not been individually trained to perform disability mitigating tasks. Thus their handlers do not legally qualify for public access rights as these animals typically lack the months of training on obedience and manners needed to behave properly in challenging conditions in public accommodation.

B. Service Animal: Any dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including but not limited to: guiding, alerting, pulling a wheelchair, fetching, and opening doors is classified as a service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Examples of a service animal include but are not limited to the following:

1 Guide Dog – a carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool by persons with visual impairment or are blind.
2. Autism Service Dog – is a dog trained to assist a person with autism. The animal alerts the partner to distracting, repetitive movements and may provide support similar to that provided by a dog for a person who has visual impairment, hearing loss or hard of hearing.
3. Seizure Response Dog – is a dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure or may go for help. Some have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance

C. Miniature Horses – In addition to service animals (dogs), revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Miniature horses are defined as those ranging in height from 24 to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and weighing between 70 and 100 pounds). Miniature horses will be permitted where reasonable and in adherence to the following assessment factors, established by the ADA regulations. The following factors will determine whether a miniature horse can be accommodated within campus facilities:

  1. Is the miniature horse housebroken?
  2. Is the miniature horse under the owner’s control?
  3. Can the facility accommodate the horse’s type, size and weight? and
  4. Will the miniature horse’s presence compromise the legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facilities?

Determination as to the reasonableness or permissibility of a miniature horse as an on-campus accommodation will be evaluated with the Office of Assisted Learning Services as final decision making authority.

Permissible Questions

In scenarios when it is not obvious what assistance a service animal provides, staff may only ask two questions: (1) Is the animal a Service Animal required because of a disability, and (2) What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

In the event that these questions are not answered or responses are insufficient, those parties accompanied by a Service Animal should be directed to the on-campus accommodation will be evaluated with the Office of Assisted Learning. A Service Animal does not need to be marked in any way or have accompanying certification to be permitted on campus.

The College does not require that a service animal be registered as a service animal before being permitted on campus. The College may establish a voluntary registration process for owners of service animals to ensure that emergency staff know to look for service animals during an emergency or emergency evacuation process. This voluntary registration process may also provide the service animal with a special tag identifying the animal as a service animal.

HFC faculty and staff cannot ask about an individual’s disability, request or require medical documentation, a special identification card or training documentation for the animal, or ask that the animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

VI. Responsible Party for Policy Interpretation/Review

Office of Assisted Learning Services

VII. Related Documents

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Title II and Title II of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990

Michigan Law statutes section 750.502c, 752.61 and 752.62

VIII. Policy History:
a. Adopted by Board; April 16, 2018

This policy supersedes and replaces any and all policies related to this subject


September 15, 2021 – Reviewed with no changes

Adopted Date: 
Monday, April 16, 2018
Board Approved