Peninsula College welcomes service animals to accompany their owners while on its campuses. This ensures that persons with a disability who require the assistance of a service animal have equal opportunity and access to the college’s facilities, courses, programs, and activities.
Definition of a service animal: A service animal is legally defined as a dog or miniature horse that has completed training to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychological, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. The task(s) performed by the [animal] must be directly related to the person's disability” (Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division). Examples of specific tasks can include, but are not limited to, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, pressing an elevator button. Other examples can include specific training as a seeing eye dog, a hearing or signal dog, a psychiatric service dog, a social signal dog, or a seizure response dog.
This definition and related access does not apply to other kinds of animals, including “emotional support animals”, “therapy animals”, “comfort animals”, “companion animals”, and “pets” (see below).
Service Animal Access: A service animal may access any part of the college where the owner is allowed to go, including all college premises, buildings, and facilities owned, used, controlled, leased or rented by the college, and agencies that have educational agreements with the college. This access specifically includes classrooms, public spaces, public restrooms, and areas where a public event, program, or activity is held by the college.
Exceptions: When consistent with other college policies, state and/or federal laws/regulations, a service animal may be restricted from specific parts of the campus, such as food preparation areas, medically sensitive patient and clinic areas, and biologically sensitive or hazardous sites. When such a restriction is necessary, it will be limited to that specific case and the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office will be available to assist in determining reasonable accommodations for the owner. Service animals who are “in training” may be permitted, but are not entitled to, the same access as service animals at the discretion of the college. Access is not granted for service animals who are not accompanied by the owner requiring their assistance.
Handling/Direct Control: A service animal is not required to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness. However, a service animal must remain under the direct control of the owner at all times (e.g., a harness, leash, or other tether) and be in compliance with city, county, and/or state license and leash laws while on college premises. The owner is also responsible for ensuring that the service animal’s behavior does not disturb or disrupt academic or administrative functions, that all waste is immediately and properly disposed of, and that the service animal does not enter a fountain or other body of water on campus.
Removal of Service Animal: College personnel may require that the service animal be removed from Peninsula College if it is not under the direct control of its owner and/or is disturbing or disruptive to the academic or administrative functions of the college.
Privacy rights: Peninsula College will not ask the owner of a service animal to provide documents or other information about the owner’s disability or a service animal’s training in order to grant access. Instead, college personnel who encounter a service animal on campus will only ask the owner if the service animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the service animal has been trained to perform, per state and/or federal laws/regulations.
The types of animals below often do not qualify as a service animal:
(Sources: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; Washington State Human Rights Commission)
“Emotional Support Animal (ESA)” – “An animal that has been prescribed for a person by his/her licensed therapist (a licensed mental health professional) in a properly formatted letter.… These animals do not require specific task-training because it is the very presence of the animal that mitigates the negative symptoms associated with a person's disorder.” By law, ESAs are permitted to accompany their owners on a flight and in the owner’s residence without being charged a fee. However, ESAs are not legally permitted in other public or private places if they do not allow pets. (Source: National Service Animal Registry – NSAR)
“Therapy animal” – An animal “that has been obedience trained and screened for its ability to interact favorably with humans and other animals.” Specific types include “therapeutic visitation animals.… [who] are household pets whose owners take time to visit hospitals, nursing homes, detention facilities, and rehabilitation facilities”, “animal assisted therapy animals…. [who] usually work in rehabilitation facilities”, and “facility therapy animals.... [who] primarily work in nursing homes.” (Source: National Service Animal Registry – NSAR)
“Comfort animal” or “companion animal” – An alternate term for an emotional support animal. (Source: National Service Animal Registry – NSAR)
“Pet” – “A domesticated animal… that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes.” (Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)
If a student is using a service animal and also wants to access other accommodations, please click here to get registered with SSD.