Use of Service Animals on Campus
A service animal is defined as: Any animal, within reason, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability.
In order to receive the College's permission to use a service animal on campus, both you and your animal must meet the requirements listed below. Disability Services will guide you through the process and make the final determination regarding your eligibility.
Determination of a Disability
A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. You must document your disability with Disability Services in Campus Center, Room 109. This will require a one-on-one meeting with Disability Services. You should bring documentation of your disability, along with a recommendation and rationale for the use of a service animal from a licensed health care professional. Disability Services will take all of this information into account when weighing the benefit you might receive by using a service animal on campus.
The Service Animal
You animal must meet the following documentation requirements:
- Licensing: According to Virginia law, any animal that has reached a proper level of maturity must be licensed and must display a license on its collar at all times.
- Health: Animals to be used on campus must have an annual clean bill of health (including vaccinations) signed by a licensed veterinarian. A valid vaccination tag must be worn by the animal at all times.
Note: Therapy/emotional support animals will be analyzed on a case by case basis by Disability Services.
Service Animals in College Housing
If you would like your service animal to reside in College housing, you must notify Disability Services at least 30 days before the day you wish to move into College housing. If you meet the above criteria for use of a service animal on campus, Disability Services will arrange a meeting between you and Residence Life to decide what will be best for you, your service animal, and the College. The impact of the animal on College housing and any alternative accommodations will be taken into account when making the final decision with you.
- Animals need to get the proper immunity shots against rabies and/or other diseases common to the type of animal.
- Animals must be four months old or older. All animals that reside in the city of Williamsburg are required to have a license.
- Animals must be in good health.
- Animals need to be on a leash, harness or other type of restraint in College buildings and public areas. However, exceptions are granted in an emergency situation, when the animal is in the owner’s private residence, when the animal needs to perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of the restraint or when the owner is unable to retain an animal on a leash due to a disability.
- The owner must consistently be in full control of the animal. The care and supervision of the service animal is the full responsibility of the owner.
- The owner is responsible for removing or arranging for the removal of the animal’s waste at least once per week. This will result in placing the waste in a closed container and then removing the container to an outdoor trash bin.
- Owners who live in College housing with their service animals may need to designate an individual to help with clean up.
- Owners need to make sure that the animal is kept as clean as possible as to not interfere with others students learning. Regular bathing and grooming will be necessary and pest control vaccinations and measures will also need to be performed by the owner.
If Permission for Use of a Service Animal on Campus is Denied
If Disability Services denies your request for using a service animal on campus or in College housing, you may appeal the College Compliance and Policy Office. If the Compliance and Policy Office denies your appeal, then you may not use the animal for the requested service.
- If, when a request for use of a service animal is denied, you have already signed a contract with Residence Life for College housing or, if you are a first-year student and you wish to be released from the requirement of living on campus during the first year. You may request to be released from the contract.