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Consumer Information

Service Animals

Background

The purpose of this information is to increase awareness of WCC’s policies and procedures pertaining to the use of service animals.

Beginning 2011 only dogs and miniature horses are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA. Service dogs will likely be used more prevalently.

While legal access rights are afforded to users of service dogs, with those rights comes the responsibility of ensuring that the animal behaves and responds appropriately at all times in public and that the handler, as a team, must adhere to the same socially accepted standards as any individual in the college community.

Under federal law and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), WCC permits service dogs and service dogs in training to access campus buildings and public spaces (including many classrooms). Certain classrooms and educational/training environments (clinical, laboratories, internship settings, cadaver lab, gun range, welding labs, food service areas, automotive shops, etc. or any place there are reasonable safety concerns for the animal, the handler, or others) will require the handler to seek advanced permission and review to see if arrangements are available. Contact the Ombudsman office by email ombudsman@wccnet.edu or by calling 734-973-3328.

Definition and Requirements

Service dogs are working animals and are not pets. This means that an individual with a service dog must have a disability as defined by the ADA, and the accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified person directly related to the handler’s disability. The dog must have been trained by a qualified agency.

The dog must be in good health and licensed in accordance with county regulations and wear appropriate vaccination tag(s).

The institution can require shot records. However, one cannot ask if the animal is licensed for service or ask about the nature or extent (or require documentation) of the individual’s disability.

Service dogs must be on a leash or harness and the owner must be in full control of the animal at all times. If the handler is unable to use a leash because of their disability or it would interfere with the safe and effective performance of work, the dog must be under the handler’s control, e.g. voice control, signals or other effective means. The animal must be housebroken.

Miniature Horses

Reasonable modifications to permit miniature horses individually trained to do work or perform tasks are required. Assessment factors for reasonable modifications include

  • Type, size, weight of the horse and whether the facility can accommodate those features
  • Handler has sufficient control of the horse
  • Horse must be housebroken
  • Whether the horse’s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements.

Allowable Questions

  • Is the animal required because of a disability?
  • What work has the animal been trained to perform?

Etiquette by the Dog

While providing service, the dog

  • Must not be allowed to sniff people, tables in eating areas, or personal belongings of others.
  • Must not initiate contact with someone without the handler’s direct permission.
  • Must not display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, such as barking, whining, or growling.
  • Must not block an aisle or passageway.
  • Must be trained not to be attracted to food that may be in common areas.

Public Etiquette by Students/Staff/Faculty/Administration on Campus

Individuals should not

  • Pet a service dog while it is working. Service dogs are trained to be protective of their handler, and petting distracts them from their responsibilities.
  • Feed a working service dog.
  • Deliberately startle, tease, or taunt a service dog.
  • Separate or attempt to separate a handler from his/her service dog.
  • Hesitate to ask a student if he/she would like assistance if the student and service dog seem confused about a direction to turn, an accessible entrance, the location of an elevator, etc.

Requirements of Service Dogs and their Handlers

  • The dog must be in good health.
  • The dog must be licensed in accordance with county regulations and wear appropriate vaccination tag(s).
  • Handlers should always carry equipment and bags sufficient to clean up the dog's waste and properly dispose of the waste. Individuals who physically cannot clean up after the dog may be required to make arrangements for another to provide that service.
  • Service dogs must be on a leash or harness and the owner must be in full control of the animal at all times. If the handler is unable to use a leash because of their disability or it would interfere with the safe and effective performance of work, the dog must be under the handler’s control, e.g. voice control, signals or other effective means.
  • Reasonable behavior is expected from service dogs while in and around the College or at College events. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation.
  • Owners of disruptive and aggressive service dogs may be asked to remove them from the College’s facilities. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be told not to bring the service dog into any facility until they take significant steps to mitigate the behavior, such as muzzling a barking or aggressive dog, or refresher training for the dog and its owner.
  • Consideration of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of a service dog. For instance, daily grooming and occasional baths should keep dog odor to a minimum and adequate preventive measures should be taken for flea and tick control.

Health Concerns for Others (Non-Handlers)

Human allergic reactions are common to many animals including dogs. Individuals who are asthmatic, allergic, or have other documentable medical concerns should direct complaints to:
Dean of Students/Ombudsman
Room No: SC 275
Phone: 734-973-3328
Email: ombudsman@wccnet.edu

The individual must show medical documentation to support that complaint. Action will be taken to consider the needs of both persons and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

Other Useful Definitions and Information

Comfort, Emotional Support or Therapy Animal/Dog: An animal used to ease the anxiousness of its owner. A comfort animal/dog is not considered to be a service dog and is not permitted inside WCC buildings.

Guide Dog: A carefully trained dog that serves as a travel tool by persons with severe visual impairments or who are blind.

Hearing Dog: A dog who has been trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound, e.g., knock on the door, occurs.

Handler: A person with a service animal.

Public Area: A space that is open and accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic level (i.e., student commons, offices, library, and hallways).

Seizure Response Dog: A dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder; how the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure, or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.

Service Dog in Training: A dog being trained has the same rights as a fully trained animal when accompanied by a handler and identified as such.

Work Tasks: Includes a non-exhaustive list of work and tasks such as retrieving items. It also covers individuals with psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disabilities, e.g. helping prevent or interrupt impulsive behaviors for individuals, assisting during a seizure, assisting with balance/stability, or providing non-violent protection or rescue work.

References: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section

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