The following information is provided to help define the role and the place of service animals at RVC. Therapy, Comfort, and/or Emotional Support animals or pets are not considered a service animal. Service animals are welcome in all buildings on campus and may attend any class, meeting, or other event.
To work on campus, a service animal must be specifically trained to perform a service function. Service animals whose behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or is disruptive to the campus community may be excluded regardless of training or certification.
Cleanliness is mandatory for service animals. Daily grooming and occasional baths (at a vet or family home) should keep dog odor to a minimum. Flea control is essential and adequate preventive measures should be taken. If a flea problem develops, it should be dealt with immediately and in an effective manner.
Consideration of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of service animals. Therefore, the following policies and procedures have been established concerning the use of service animals at RVC.
Requirements for Faculty, Staff and Students
- Allow a service animal to accompany the student at all times and anywhere on campus any other student would be allowed to go.
- Do not pet a service animal; petting a service animal when the animal is working distracts the animal from required tasks.
- Do not feed a service animal. The service animal may have specific dietary requirements. Unusual food or food at an unexpected time may cause the animal to become ill.
- Do not deliberately startle a service animal.
- Do not separate or attempt to separate a student/handler from his or her service animal.
Requirements of Service Animals and The Student/Handlers
A student with a disability who utilizes a service animal is strongly encouraged to register with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office. The cost of care, arrangements, and responsibilities for the well-being of a service animal are the sole responsibility of the student/handler at all times.
Service animals on campus must:
- Be under control. The Student/Handler must be in full control of the animal at all times. The supervision of a service animal is the sole responsibility of the student/handler. Reasonable behavior is expected from service animals while on campus. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the handler is expected to employ the proper training techniques to mitigate the behavior.
- Not cause damage to the campus. A person who has a service animal on campus is financially responsible for property damage caused by his or her service animal.
- Defecate in appropriate places. Individuals using service animals must follow local ordinances in cleaning up after the animal defecates, must take their service animals to the marked toileting areas for service animals, when provided, and must also clean up the waste and dispose of it in the appropriate trash receptacle.
- Not cause financial obligations to the college. All functions of service animal use, including service animal training or retraining, independent travel, animal food purchasing and maintenance, grooming, veterinarian care, and hygiene work is considered a personal aid or service and is the full responsibility of the owner.
Removal of Service Animals
- Disruption: The owner of an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, threatening, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from college facilities/grounds. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the partner may be told not to bring the animal into any college facility until the owner takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Mitigation can include muzzling or refresher training for both the animal and the owner.
- Health: Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public areas. An owner with an ill animal may be asked to leave college facilities.
- Cleanliness: Owners with animals that are unclean, noisome, and/or bedraggled may be asked to leave college facilities. If the animal in question is usually well-groomed, the college may consider the animal that appears messy due to environmental conditions (ex., rain, snow, sleet, mud, etc.) well-groomed until the partner is able to then groom the animal appropriately (ex., give it a bath, brushing, towel dry, etc.).
Any owner dissatisfied with a decision made concerning a service animal should follow the applicable institutional appeal/grievance procedure.