Assistance Animals Policy

Dordt University is committed to helping students with particular life challenges to be successful and seeks to accommodate their needs. One common type of reasonable accommodation is allowing a person with a disability to keep an assistance animal. An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Dordt University is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities may keep such animals in Dordt University housing, to the extent required by federal, state, and local law.

An animal that is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability is known as a service animal. It is often readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, such as a dog that guides an individual with a visual impairment. Where it is readily apparent that an animal is a trained service animal, for example, a dog trained to guide an individual with a visual impairment, Dordt University will not inquire about the individual’s disability or the animal’s training. Federal law recognizes two types of service animals: dogs and miniature horses. Service animals may accompany the student in most aspects of campus life, with limited restrictions.

In the case of a resident who requests a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal that does work or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, Dordt University may require that the resident provide:

               i.        A statement from a health or social service professional indicating that the person has a disability, and

               ii.       Information that the animal has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability, or information that the animal, despite lack of individual training, is able to do work or perform tasks that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability.

In the case of a resident who requests a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal that provides emotional or other assistance that ameliorates one or more symptoms or effects of the resident’s disability, Dordt University will require a statement from a health or social service professional[1] indicating:

               i.       That the applicant has a disability, and

               ii.      That the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability, and

               iii.     Whether the applicant is using any measure (e.g. prescriptions, treatments, therapy, etc.) that mitigates the limitations caused by the impairment, and

               iv.     Whether any other alternative accommodation would be effective in allowing the applicant to use University housing.

If an assistance animal both provides emotional support or other assistance that ameliorates one or more effects of a disability and does work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a physical disability, Dordt University may require compliance with either of the two preceding paragraphs, but not both.

Emotional Support Animals may only accompany the student in the residential area of the University. Students requiring such an animal must apply for permission for this animal and be approved by the Dean of Students.

The complete Service and Emotional Support Animal policy is available from the Dean of Students and governs the student’s and the institution’s rights and responsibilities in this area.

 

[1]

 “Health or social service professional” means a person who provides medical care, therapy, or counseling to persons with disabilities, including, but not limited to, doctors, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers. The health or social service professional must have personally met with and diagnosed the applicant. The health or social service professional must have an enduring relationship with the applicant within 6 months of the application.