Service Animal Policy
Siena College is committed to compliance with applicable state and federal laws relating to individuals with disabilities. With respect to a request for a service animal, the College will determine, on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether such an animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus. In doing so, the College must balance the needs of the individual with the impact of animals on other campus community members. Only service animals, as defined by the American's with Disabilities Act (generally restricted to dogs), are allowed in the general campus facilities.
Service Animals, Generally
Siena College recognizes and supports the needs a trained service animal can provide a student or an employee with a disability.
The term “service animal” is defined by the American's with Disabilities Act as any dog that is trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Service animals are typically those guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. Other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals and therefore are defined as Assistance/Emotional Support Animals. Examples of service animals include:
Guide dog: A dog that is trained to serve as a travel tool for individuals who are blind or have impaired vision.
Hearing dog: A dog that has been trained to alert deaf persons or those with significant hearing loss, to sounds such as knocks on doors, fire alarms, phone ringing, etc.
Service dog : A dog that has been trained to assist a person with a mobility or health impairment. Duties include carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, assisting a person to get up after a fall, etc.
Sig (signal) dog: A dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog makes the person aware of certain movements of him/her, which may appear distracting to others and are common to those with autism. They may provide assistance similar to that given to a person who is blind or deaf.
Seizure response dog: A dog trained to assist persons with seizure disorders. Some dogs are trained to predict seizures and provide advance warning.
The care and supervision of the service animal is the responsibility of the handler. The College will identify safe areas to allow for basic needs of the animal. The animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether unless the handler is unable to use such equipment or it would interfere with the animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the animal must be otherwise supervised (e.g., voice control, signals, etc.). The service animal will be viewed by the campus as an extension of the individual student or employee and therefore subject to the code of conduct of the College in the case of the student and the applicable governing policies in the case of an employee.
Service Animal Accommodation Request Process
The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities must be informed of any individual, student or employee, if an individual plans to or has a service animal on campus.
Licensing: If the animal is residing on campus it is the owners/handlers responsibility to comply with the Town of Colonie’s licensing policy. Requirements include current vaccination against rabies at the time of application. Students will be expected to apply for a license with the Town of Colonie even if the animal is registered with another municipality. There is no fee associated with this process for a service animal.
Health: The animal should be in good health, well groomed and care should be taken for flea and odor control. Consideration of others should be taken when providing maintenance and hygiene of the animal.
Service animals will be permitted in all areas of the College facilities where students are allowed to go, including programs and activities. The College may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal if the animal is out of control and the handler does not take appropriate action to control it, or the animal is not housebroken. In such situations, the College will give the individual with the disability the opportunity to remedy the control deficiencies in order to continue to participate in a service, program or activity on campus.
The student or employee will assume full responsibility for the care and management of his or her own service animal. This will include, but is not limited to, providing food, water and shelter; managing the animal’s behavior on campus and in the community;, maintaining health and wellness; and disposing animal waste in an appropriate manner.
The service animal must be harnessed at all times and the handler/partner must be in full control of the animal when it is working.
It is likely that persons at the College may have a disability that precipitates an allergic reaction to animals. Persons who have asthma/allergy/medical reaction to the animal are directed to make their complaint to the appropriate offices (Services for Students with Disabilities for student complaints and the Office of Human Resources for employee complaints). The person making the complaint must provide verifiable medical documentation to support their claim. In consultation with the Director of Health Services, action will be taken to consider the needs of both persons to resolve the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Service Animals in Residence Halls
If the student resides on campus, the service animal may be off leash in the student’s residence room when not working.
The guidelines for conflicting disabilities may apply in the residence halls. If there is an allergy/animal conflict within a residence hall that cannot be resolved agreeably, then the Residential Life Office in consultation with Services for Students with Disabilities will collaborate on a solution. It should be noted that if the first person that has been permitted into the residence hall uses a service animal and another person with severe allergies then arrives, the first person cannot be removed to accommodate the second person.
If there is any complaint regarding the animal and its behavior, Public Safety, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee, or the Office of Human Resources (in the case of an employee), should contact the student or staff member and, in collaboration with the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, inform the student or employee of the policies regarding service animals.
Revised May, 2012