Service Animals

The Americans with Disability Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA) states that businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go.

The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. The use of a miniature horse as a service animal may be considered on a case by case basis. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform. Examples include dogs used by some individuals who are blind, alert persons with hearing impairments to sounds, pulling wheelchairs, or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

A service animal or service animal in training may be excluded from campus or classrooms when the animal’s behavior poses a threat to the health or safety of others. A service animal may be excluded if it becomes disruptive and fundamentally alters the nature of the class, performance, lecture, movie or play – for example, if a dog barks repeatedly during one of the above-mentioned situations.

North Carolina Statute states that it is unlawful to disguise a dog as an assistance dog, or deprive a visually impaired person, a hearing impaired person, or a mobility-impaired person of any rights granted the person pursuant to G.S. 168-4.2 through 168-4.4. UNC Asheville, which receives federal and state funds, adheres to these policies regarding service animals.

About Service Animals in Training:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assures people with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals that they will not be excluded from public places or activities, nor charged any additional fees, because they are accompanied by their service dog.  However, the ADA does not provide the same protection to service animals in training (that is, the ADA assures access for the handler/partner only if the dog is fully trained to give some disability-related service).

North Carolina State Law states that an animal in training to become a service animal may be taken into any of the places listed in G.S. 168-3
• for the purpose of training
• when the animal is accompanied by a person who is training the service animal and
• the animal wears a collar and leash, harness, or cape that identifies the animal as a service animal in training.

Because North Carolina state law does not clarify further the use of the phrase “service animal in training,” UNC Asheville has established policy, based on accepted practices suggested by Assistance Dogs International (ADI).  A service-dog-in-training is a dog accompanied by its trainer (“a person training a service animal”) that is undergoing individual training to provide specific disability-related work or service for an individual with a disability.  This does not include obedience training or socialization of puppies who may later become service animals (generally 15-18 months).  Thus, adult dogs are recognized as being “in training” to provide disability-specific assistance only after they have completed an earlier period of socialization (obedience training, being house broken, getting acclimated to public places and every day activities as pets).  A service animal trainer may bring such dog onto campus and interact with the campus community in public areas, campus offices, and so on, if it is properly identified as a service animal in training, and has completed the earlier basic training and socialization necessary prior to engaging in service animal training. As stated above, this necessarily restricts the age of a service-animal in training; dogs younger than one year may generally not be considered service animals in training.

About Emotional Support Animals:

Emotional Support, Companion and/or Therapy Animals are not considered Service Animals under the ADA. Emotional Support Animals can be considered reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act. Emotional Support Animals provide passive support and are, typically, limited to the residence hall. If you are seeking an Emotional Support Animal, please complete a student application, and refer to the guidelines regarding Emotional Support Animals.

Questions, requests, and/or documentation should be directed to the Office of Accessibility.