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Service Animals

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Cedarville University follows the ADA and the most recent guidance from the Department of Justice regarding service dogs. Service animals are defined as dogs that are 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, actively 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 dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. For additional information on service dogs, please visit Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for himself or herself. (

In accordance with applicable law, Cedarville University permits service dogs in campus buildings, classrooms, residence halls, offices, dining facilities, recreational facilities, and most areas where the handler is permitted. Exceptions may include areas or situations where the dog is a threat to the health and safety of others or when the presence of the dog constitutes a fundamental alteration to a program or service. A service dog can be any breed, any size, and while the dog may wear a specialized vest, it is not legally required to do so.

While students coming to campus with service dogs are not required to register with Disability Services, Cedarville University encourages students to partner with Disability Services, particularly if other accommodations may be necessary in order to afford the student equal access to University programs and services. Additionally, students living in residence halls are strongly encouraged to contact the Student Life office to give advance notice of the intent to bring the service dog to campus.

Campus Community Etiquette

Because service dogs are working dogs, the campus community should know the following:

  • Allow a service dog to accompany its handler everywhere on campus.
  • Ask the handler’s permission before approaching or petting a service dog.
  • Speak to the handler first, not the dog.
  • Do not ask about a handler’s disability.
  • Do not offer food to a service dog.
  • Do not attempt to separate a service dog from its handler.
  • Do not tease or startle a service dog.
  • Do not interrupt a service dog while it is working.

Handler’s Responsibilities

  1. The handler must effectively control the dog at all times. Under ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
  2. The care and well-being of the service dog are the sole responsibilities of the handler. The handler is responsible for maintaining the dog’s health and cleanliness, including using flea and tick control. Residence hall showers are not to be used for purposes of bathing a service animal.
  3. The handler must ensure that the service dog abides by local ordinances, including vaccinations and licensure.
  4. The service dog must wear its current rabies tag and license tag at all times.
  5. The handler is financially responsible for the actions of the service dog, including bodily injury to others and/or property damage. Any damage to Cedarville University property will be charged to the handler’s student account.
  6. The handler should be prepared at all times with plastic bags to immediately clean up the dog’s waste. The bags are to be securely tied upon cleanup and placed in an outside trash dumpster. Should the dog have an accident in the residence hall or campus building, the handler is to immediately and thoroughly sanitize the area. Handlers who are not physically able to fulfill these responsibilities are to make arrangements for assistance. Cedarville University is not responsible for these services.
  7. The handler is not to allow the service dog to swim in the campus lake.

Removal of a Service Dog

A service dog may be removed from Cedarville University premises until the handler is able to demonstrate that the dog’s behavior has been corrected if the dog is not housebroken, the dog is a direct threat to the health and safety of others, or the service dog is not well controlled.