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Unless otherwise approved, animals are not allowed inside Northcentral Technical College (NTC) facilities unless they meet the definition of a service animal under the ADA,  are required as part of the curriculum in certain programs (e.g. Dairy Science, Veterinary Science, Criminal Justice), or are pre-approved therapy dogs.

Service Animal Definition

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Under the ADA, service animals are allowed to accompany a person with a disability (“handler”) on campus.  A service animal must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability everywhere on campus except in situations where safety may be compromised or where the animal may interfere with the fundamental nature of the activities being conducted. The College may not bar service animals because of noise concerns when part of the service the animal provides to its partner is alerting him or her to possible dangers or obstacles by barking.  A service dog can be any breed or size.  Generally, a service animal is not allowed to be touched by others, and the animal will wear specialized equipment such as a backpack, tether, harness, or special collar or leash, but this is not a legal requirement, subject to local ordinances.

A person bringing an animal on campus should be prepared to answer the following questions if asked by a member of the faculty or staff of NTC:

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

*Note that persons with a service animal are not required to disclose the nature of their disability to staff or faculty.  Unless otherwise approved, if the animal is not required because of a disability the owner will be asked to remove the animal from campus.

Responsibilities of a Person Using a Service Animal

  • To be qualified to utilize a service animal at NTC, the handler should be prepared to identify the animal as a service animal required because of a disability and describe what work or task the service animal has been trained to perform.
  • Local ordinances regarding animals apply to service animals, including requirements for immunization, licensing, noise, restraint, at-large animals, and dangerous animals. Dogs must wear a license tag and current rabies vaccination tag.
  • The handler must be in full control of the service animal at all times. This means that the service animal must be leashed or harnessed, unless performing a specific task for which they are trained to do requiring they be unleashed (retrieving items for a person with a physical disability, e.g.) When in learning areas, the animal should be placed near the handler under a chair or table out of the way. Service animals must be housebroken. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its handler.  The service animal must be maintained and used at all times in ways that do not create safety hazards for other people.
  • The handler is responsible for cleaning up the service animal’s waste. The handler should always carry equipment and bags sufficient to clean up and properly dispose of the animal’s waste.  Handlers who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of the waste are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance.  The College is not responsible for these services.
  • Service animals in training will be allowed subject to the rules outlined in this guideline.

Other Circumstances Regarding Service Animals

Service animals may be asked to leave NTC facilities or grounds under circumstances that may include the following:

  • The animal is objectively determined to be presently incapable of performing appropriate and disability-related work or tasks for the handler and is deemed as indistinguishable from a pet or companion animal, thus not meeting the specific ADA definition of a “service animal.”
  • The animal is unruly or disruptive or exhibits aggressive or fearful behavior.  An animal that engages in such disruptive behavior shows that it has not been successfully trained to function as a service animal in public settings.  Therefore, it is no longer a requirement to treat it as a service animal, even if the animal is one that performs an assistive function for a person with a disability.
  • The animal is destructive in any manner.
  • The animal is ill. Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas.
  • The animal is not clean. However, an animal that becomes wet from weather or weather-related incidents, but is otherwise clean, should be considered a clean animal.

For more information regarding service animals, or to request other accommodations, please contact Disability Services at 715.803.1469.

NTC Employees:

Employees may be permitted to bring service animals to work on campus as an accommodation for a documented disability. Such employees may be asked to provide reasonable documentation that the animal is needed as a disability accommodation, including why the animal is needed and what service it will provide for the employee, that the animal is trained to perform that function, and that the animal will not unduly disrupt the workplace.  Employees interested in the use of a service animal as a reasonable accommodation will need to work with Human Resources at 715-803-1483 or hr@ntc.edu.

Therapy Dogs:

Although therapy dogs are not considered service animals under the ADA, they may be allowed on campus on a case-by-case basis, for certain events in limited areas.  Therapy dogs provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is an organization dedicated to regulating, testing, and registering therapy dogs and their handlers.  For therapy dogs to be considered for approval to be on campus, they must have been tested and evaluated by a Certified TDI Evaluator, and registered as a therapy dog.

No therapy dog will be allowed on campus without prior approval.

Process of Approval for Therapy Dogs:

  • Approval is required by the Executive Vice President of Student Services. Requests must be made in writing and include the following information:
    a) Purpose of the dog being on campus and benefit to learners.
    b) Proposed location and duration of the therapy dog’s visit to campus. Therapy dogs should not present a barrier for learners who need to access the space for educational purposes and consideration should be given to learners who may have fears or allergies.
    c) Explanation of how the dog’s presence will be communicated to NTC students and staff.
  • NTC will make an individualized assessment of each proposed therapy dog request.
  • To be considered, the therapy dog must be registered with TDI and have the necessary documentation to certify the animal as a therapy dog.
  • NTC has the right to restrict the use of a therapy dog.

Responsibilities of Owner of Therapy Dogs:

  • Therapy dogs brought on campus must be under the control of the owner at all times (i.e. leash, harness). The owner is solely responsible for the dog’s well-being, care and cleaning, including but not limited to regular feeding, bathing, grooming, daily care, and veterinary services.
  • The owner is responsible for attending to the therapy dog at all times.
  • The therapy dog must be housebroken.
  • The therapy dog’s waste deposited on NTC grounds or within the facilities must be removed immediately and disposed of properly by the owner.
  • NTC may remove or require the removal of any therapy dog that poses a threat to the health or safety to others on campus, disrupts the environment of NTC, or if the owner does not comply with NTC’s therapy dog rules and responsibilities.  This includes noise violations (e.g. barking or other disruptive noise).
  • The owner shall be financially responsible for expenses incurred above a standard cleaning or for repairs to NTC, including losses, liability, claims, and harm to others caused by the therapy dog.
  • The owner shall hold NTC blameless in the event the therapy dog goes missing. NTC staff are not responsible for retrieval of the therapy dog in the event the animal escapes or becomes lost.
  • The owner must comply with all applicable laws regarding the keeping of the therapy dog. The owner is also responsible for compliance with all local and state licensing laws, and animal rights laws. Therapy dogs must be current with immunizations and wear appropriate vaccination tags.

Comfort/Emotional Support Animals:

Comfort or emotional support animals are defined as animals whose presence provides a sense of comfort, companionship, and well-being for an individual. Comfort animals do not require any specific training; they are solely a companion animal. Comfort animals are not allowed inside NTC facilities.

Revised January 10, 2020 (replaces previous 284 Administrative/Operating Guideline: Use of Service Animals)

Animals on Campus: Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What is the ADA?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities that prohibits discrimination in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

Q: What am I allowed to ask if I see an animal inside NTC facilities?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities’ rights to have a trained service animal accompany them on campus.  Under the ADA, you may ask
1)    Is the animal with you required because of disability?
2)    What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Q:  What is the definition of a “service animal”?
A:  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Q: Service animals are required for a disability-may I ask the owner about their disability?
A:  No, this question is not legal under the ADA.  Individuals with disabilities cannot be required to disclose details about their disability.

Q: Do we require individuals with a service animal to work with Disability Services?  
A: No, individuals with service animals are not required to work with Disability Services.   Staff can encourage the person to connect with Disability Services if they would like to request other accommodations.

Q:  Do we require individuals with a service animal to provide documentation of their disability and/or training certification?  
A: Staff cannot require medical documentation of a disability, nor can they require a special identification card or training documentation for the service animal, or ask that the service animal demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Q:  What if staff or other students are allergic or afraid of the service animals?
A: According to the ADA, Allergies and fear of service animals are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals.  If employees, fellow travelers, or customers are afraid of service animals, a solution may be to allow enough space for that person to avoid getting close to the service animal.
Most allergies to animals are caused by direct contact with the service animal. A separated space might be adequate to avoid allergic reactions.
If a person is at risk of a significant allergic reaction to an animal, it is the responsibility of the business or government entity to find a way to accommodate both the individual using the service animal and the individual with the allergy.

Q:  What about therapy dogs-are they allowed?
A:  Therapy dogs are not allowed on campus without approval.  Therapy dogs may be allowed on campus on a case-by-case basis, for certain events in limited areas.
Therapy dogs provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is an organization dedicated to regulating, testing, and registering therapy dogs and their handlers.  For therapy dogs to be considered for approval to be on campus, they must have been tested and evaluated by a Certified TDI Evaluator, and registered as a therapy dog.

Q: So how does someone obtain approval?
A:  Approval for Therapy Dogs is required by the Executive Vice President of Student Services.  Requests must be made in writing and must include the following information:

  • Purpose of the therapy dog being on campus and benefit to learners.
  • Proposed location and duration of the therapy dog’s visit to campus. Therapy dogs should not present a barrier for learners who need to access the space for educational purposes and consideration should be given to learners who may have fears or allergies.
  • Explanation of how the therapy dog’s presence will be communicated to NTC students and staff.
  • NTC will make an individualized assessment of each proposed therapy dog request.
  • To be considered, the therapy dog must be registered with TDI and have the necessary documentation to certify the animal as a therapy dog.
  • NTC has the right to restrict the use of a therapy dog.

Q: Someone had a dog in their purse and said it was a comfort animal.  How is a comfort animal different from service animal or therapy dog?
A: Comfort or emotional support animals are defined as animals whose presence provides a sense of comfort, companionship, and well-being for an individual. Comfort animals do not require any specific training; they are solely a companion animal. Comfort animals are not allowed on campus.