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Policy and Procedure Manual Section 17 VII

Service Animal Policy

Approved by Cabinet, 06/21/2017


In accordance with federal and state laws, service animals assisting students with disabilities are permitted in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.† This policy pertains to visitors and students of Georgia Highlands College (GHC).


In accordance with federal, and state laws, service animals are permitted on the college campus, instructional sites and in its facilities. The service animal should wear a harness, cape, identification tag or other gear that readily identifies its working status. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as:

ďany dog 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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability. A handler is a person who uses a service animal to assist with a disability as defined by federal law. Examples of work or tasks performed by service animals include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.Ē†

Federal and state law specifically excludes animals whose primary purpose is emotional support, therapy, or comfort from the definition of service animal.† Emotional support animals are considered an accommodation and require documentation review and approval through Student Disability Services as a reasonable accommodation.


Service animals and their handlers are not required to register with Student Disability Services. Service animals are considered a civil right as opposed to an accommodation. We ask that students notify Student Disability Services out of courtesy, so that we are aware of the animal and can advocate for the student if necessary.† However, notification is not required.

Rights and Responsibilities

The following information is derived from the U.S. Department of Justice memo 1 Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section covering the updated revision of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act:

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Employees may ask two questions:
    1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
    2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Employees cannot ask about the personís disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

  • Allergies and fear of the service animal are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to a service animalís dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, such as a college classroom, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless:
    1. the service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control† it
    2. or the service animal is not housebroken
  • When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, employees must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain services without the animalís presence.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from others, treated less favorably than others, or charged fees that are not charged to others without animals.
  • The college, or employees of the college are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.
  • Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animalís work or the individualís disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Federal Regulations and Resources



State Regulations and Resources


Page last updated: July 7, 2017