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Service Animals

Cedarville University follows the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the most recent guidance from the Department of Justice regarding service animals. 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. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for himself or herself.

Cedarville University will not ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability. However, when it is not readily apparent that the dog identified by the individual with a disability is trained to do disability-related work, the Disability Services staff may ask the student with the disability if the dog is required because of the student’s disability and what work or task the animal has been specifically trained to perform.  Documentation or proof that the dog has been trained as a service animal will not be required.

In accordance with federal law, Cedarville University permits service animals in campus buildings, classrooms, residence halls, offices, dining facilities, recreational facilities, and most areas where the handler is permitted.  Note: Ohio Administrative Code also provides for accommodation of animal assistants in certain situations and under specific conditions. 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. While the service dog may wear a specialized vest, it is not legally required to do so.

For additional information on service animals, please visit:

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Service Dogs in University Housing

Students wishing to utilize a service animal on campus should contact the Disability Services for Students office at 937-766-7437. If the handler of a service dog plans to reside in University housing, the handler should provide sufficient notice to the Residence Life office so appropriate arrangements for placement can be made.

Care of the Animal and Handler Responsibilities

It is understood that a service dog will always be with its handler.

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.

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.

The handler must ensure that the service animal abides by local ordinances, including vaccinations and licensure. Proof of rabies vaccination is required.

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.

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.

The handler is not to allow the service dog to swim in the campus lake.

In the event that the handler becomes incapacitated, emergency contact information for care of the animal should be supplied to the Residence Life office.

Removal of a Service Dog

It may become necessary to ask that a service dog may be removed from Cedarville University premises if the dog is not housebroken, is significantly disruptive to others, is a direct threat to the health and safety of others, or the dog is not well controlled.

Service Dogs in Training

The Americans with Disabilities Act assures individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals that they will not be excluded from public places, nor will they be charged additional fees because they are accompanied by their service dog. Service animals in training are not provided the same protection under ADA. Access for the handler and partner is only ensured if the dog is fully trained to provide a specific disability-related job for the individual with a disability.

Ohio state law (RC §955.43) provides the same rights of access for individuals who are training service animals for a non-profit special agency. Only dogs that are actively training under a non-profit special agency to perform specific disability-related tasks for individuals with disabilities are assured this right to access.

Cedarville University has established policy for service dogs in training based on (1) The accepted practices suggested by Assistance Dogs International (ADI); and (2) Lack of further clarification under Ohio state law in reference to the term, “in-training.” A service dog in training is a dog that is accompanied by its trainer and is undergoing individual training specifically to provide the disability-related work or service for an individual with a disability. This does not include young dogs or puppies undergoing obedience training or socialization (generally 18 months or younger) who may later become service animals. Adult dogs are recognized as being “in training” to provide disability-specific assistance only after they have completed an earlier period of socialization and are actively training to perform their specific work-related task.

As service animals in training in the state of Ohio are only given access rights when accompanied by someone employed by a nonprofit agency, they are not permitted to reside in Cedarville University residence halls nor be present in other areas of campus except those places where all students are welcome to bring pets. Similarly, puppies who are being fostered in preparation for future service animal training are not permitted in residence halls or on campus except where pets are allowed.