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Policy and Procedure Manual Section 17 VII

Agreement for Maintaining a Service Animal

within Georgia Highlands College

Approved by the Cabinet, 2-15-10


The following guidelines apply to all students and their approved animals who use Georgia Highlands College facilities unless the nature of the documented disability of the student precludes adherence to these guidelines.

For the purpose of this policy, the term “service animal” refers to “service animals,” and “assistive animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act respectively. According to this definition, service animals are considered as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” {28 C.F.R. 36.302(c)(1)}

According to the Georgia statue amended on July 1, 2007, any person engaged in the training/raising a service animal such as a dog for training as a guide shall “have the same right to be accompanied by such dog [being trained/raised for training] as the totally or partially blind person, deaf person, or physically disabled person.” {OCGA 30-40-2}

Animal Behavior

1. An exception to the Academic Regulations B, as listed in the GHC Student Handbook, is granted for service animals provided that their behavior, noise, odor, and waste do not exceed reasonable standards for a well behaved animal and that these factors do not create unreasonable disruptions to the campus community.

2. Dangerous, poisonous, and/or illegal animals are not permitted.

3. The approved service animal must be maintained by the student/owner at all times, and must be transported in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. Additionally, the student must carry the approval letter (copy) from Student Support Services (SSS) as verification of approval of service animal, to be shown to any college official that inquires.

Animal Health and Well–Being

1. All service animals must be in good health and have all veterinarian recommended vaccinations to maintain the animal’s health and prevent contagious diseases. Documentation of vaccinations is due at time of approval. GHC reserves the right to request an updated verification at anytime the animal is in service.

2. If state or local licenses are required for the service animal, they must be obtained and kept current in compliance with the local jurisdiction (i.e. dog license) requirements. GHC reserves the right to request proof of licensing at anytime during the animal’s service.

3. All service animals must wear identification tags with contact information and, if applicable, vaccination information.

4. All service animals must be treated humanely. If mistreatment is reported, a GHC official will review the report with the student. The College judicial process may be initiated as a result of a report of mistreatment.

Animal Cleanliness

1. Students/owners are responsible for properly containing and disposing of all animal fecal waste.

a. Indoor service animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and tied securely before being disposed in outside trash dumpsters. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that feces and urine are not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.

b. Outdoor services animal waste, such as dog feces, must be immediately retrieved by the student/owner placed in a plastic bag and securely tied before being disposed in outside trash dumpsters. For visually impaired residents, a designated area for service animal waste will be agreed upon in advance.

Student Responsibilities

1. The student must register with Student Support Services and receive approval for an accommodation to have each service animal in GHC facilities prior to having a service animal enter the facility. Regular reviews of the student’s individual needs will be conducted at the discretion of SSS.

2. The student is responsible for ensuring that the service animal does not interfere with the routine activities and daily operations of the college or cause difficulties for students or staff attending and working there. Sensitivity to individuals with allergies and to those who fear animals is important to ensure the peace of the college community.

3. The student is financially and legally responsible for the actions of the service animal such as bodily injury or property damage, including but not limited to, any replacement of furniture, carpet, drapes, or wall covering, etc. GHC shall have the right to bill the student’s account for necessary repair and/or replacement costs.

4. The student’s classrooms may be inspected for fleas, ticks, or other pests once per term or as needed. GHC staff will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the room will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a GHC approved pest control service. The student will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond normal required pest management.

5. The student must notify a Disability Specialist in the SSS in writing if the service animal is no longer needed as a service animal. To replace a service animal the student must file a new request with his/her Disability Specialist.

6. In the event a student lives in campus housing (SPSU): All roommates, suitemates, or apartment mates of the student must sign an agreement allowing the service animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates, suitemates, apartment-mates do not approve, either the resident and service animal or the non-approving roommates, suitemates, or apartment-mates, as determined by the Director of Housing, may be moved to a more suitable location.

7. Any violation of these policies will be reviewed through the GHC judicial process and the student will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.

Student:______________________________________________ Date:_____________

SSS staff member: _____________________________________ Date:_____________

Campus Dean:________________________________________ Date:_____________

Credit: University of Georgia policy manual

Page last updated: April 18, 2012