Service and Support Animals
The University of Maryland is committed to promoting full participation and equal access to University programs and activities for individuals with disabilities, and to complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. Pursuant to these commitments, service animals are permitted on campus for persons with disabilities. As part of this commitment, policies and procedures will ensure that persons with disabilities are not subjected to discrimination or denied full and equal access to programs offered by the university based on their disability.
A service animal is a guide dog or signal dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, as defined earlier in this document. A service animal meeting this definition is not required to be licensed or certified by a state or local government or animal training program.
The University of Maryland allows service animals in all buildings, classrooms, residence halls, meetings, dining areas, recreational facilities, activities and events when the animal is accompanied on campus by individuals with a disability or who indicate the service animal provides a specific service to them
Service animals are allowed to accompany their handlers at all times and everywhere on campus, except in areas where specifically prohibited due to health, environmental or safety hazards (e.g. mechanical rooms, machine shops, custodial closets, laboratories). These determinations must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access to people using service animals. If it is possible, separate the person with the allergy or other animal aversions from the person with a service animal. Individuals with allergies to dogs should work through the interactive process to determine appropriate accommodations to address the issue.
The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag or specific harness. The handler is also not required to carry a specific identification card for the service animal.
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed:
- "Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?" and
- "What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?" Staff cannot ask about the person’s 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.
Members of the university community who have questions or concerns regarding the behavior of a service animal or the presence of a service animal in a university facility should not direct their concerns to the individual or handler. Rather, direct all questions or concerns to the ADA/504 Coordinator.
Service animals are not required to be approved through any accommodation process.
Individuals with disabilities and service animal trainers who are accompanied by an animal being trained or raised as a service animal have the same right as individuals without disabilities to the full and free use of the roads, sidewalks, public buildings and public space. Under MD law, service animals in training can be excluded if admitting the animal would create a clear danger of a disturbance or physical harm to an individual in the place. 2017: MD Human Services Code § 7-705 (a)(4)
10 Do's and Don'ts for Behavior Around a Service Dog Team
- DO speak to the owner/handler rather than the dog.
- DON'T touch the dog without asking permission first.
- DO keep pet dogs a distance away from a working dog.
- DON'T offer food to a service dog.
- DO treat the owner/handler with sensitivity and respect.
- DON'T assume a napping service dog is off duty.
- DO inform the handler if a service dog approaches you.
- DON'T do anything to distract the dog from its job.
- DO ask before acting if there are ways you can assist.
- DONʼT assume that the person does not have a disability just because you can’t see one.
Emotional Support Animals
The University of Maryland is committed to promoting full participation and equal access to University programs and activities for individuals with disabilities, and to complying with the Rehabilitation Act and Fair Housing Act. Pursuant to these commitments, an individual with a qualified disability may request to have a support animal as a reasonable accommodation in campus housing facilities. As part of this commitment, policies and procedures will ensure that persons with disabilities are not subjected to discrimination or denied full and equal access to programs offered by the university based on their disability.
- Emotional Support/Comfort Animal: An animal that provides comfort, reassurance, social interaction and other emotional benefits. The animal does not have to be trained to provide comforting. An emotional support/comfort animal is not considered a service animal. The use of an animal (i.e., as a comfort or therapy animal) may be allowed as a reasonable accommodation through established Accessibility & Disability Services procedures. The presence of the support animal must be necessary in order to provide a resident of university-provided housing who has a disability the use and enjoyment of the dwelling. There must be an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance or support the support animal provides to the resident. Support animals are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Support animals also are not pets.
- Therapy Animal (assistance animal): An animal that provides affection and comfort and is specifically trained to be gentle and stable in stressful situations. The use of a therapy animal may be incorporated into the treatment process as prescribed by an appropriate health care professional. A therapy animal is not considered a service animal and has received training appropriate for animal assisted therapy (ʺAATʺ) as evidenced by receipt of the Canine Good Citizen (ʺCGCʺ) certificate from the American Kennel Club (AKC), or registration by a national therapy animal organization, such as the Delta Society or Therapy Dogs International.
In order to qualify for a support animal accommodation, the requesting student must follow the university's Support Animal Guidelines. The Guidelines set forth the criteria for determining if the presence of a support animal is a reasonable accommodation, the required application process, and the resident responsibilities for maintaining a support animal in university-provided housing.
Students wishing to have their support animals reside in university-provided housing are asked to provide advance notice (at least 30 days) to Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS). Advance notice will enable ADS and Resident Life to provide appropriate accommodations for the student while also addressing the needs of other students in the housing unit. In the event a student does not provide advance notice, the university will make a good faith effort to accommodate the student with the support animal to the extent possible.