Rock Valley College recognizes the importance of allowing individuals with disabilities who require the use of service animals to receive the benefit of the work or tasks provided by such animals while on campus. As such, the College desires to ensure that all individuals with disabilities who require the assistance of a service animal have an equal opportunity to access College property, courses, programs, and activities.
This procedure complies with several federal and state laws: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and The Service Animal Access Act/White Cane Law (Illinois General Assembly).
A person with a disability that a service animal assists or a personal care attendant who handles the animal for a person with a disability.
Service Animal - Any dog* individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability and meets the definition of “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) regulations at 28 CFR 35.104. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or tasks performed must be directly related to the individual’s disability.
Examples of tasks a service animal may perform include, but are not limited to:
Learn more about service animals and the ADA.
*Under particular circumstances set forth in the ADA regulations at 28 CFR 35.136(i), a miniature horse may qualify as a service animal.
An assistance animal may provide physical assistance, emotional support, calming, stability and other kinds of assistance. Assistance Animals do not perform work or tasks that would qualify them as “service animals” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Assistance animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA or this procedure and may not be permitted on campus.
Public accommodation” means a place of public accommodation” as defined in ORS 659A.400.: “a place or service offering to the public accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges whether in the nature of goods, services, lodgings, amusements or otherwise.” A place of public accommodation does not include any institution, bona fide club or place of accommodation which is in its nature distinctly private.
In compliance with applicable law, service animals are generally allowed in all areas of the College’s facilities and programs where the handler is allowed to go. Such areas include public areas, public events, classrooms, and other areas where College programs or activities are held.
A service animal may be restricted from specific areas of the College when (1) it would fundamentally alter a program or (2) the College has legitimate safety concerns and/or it is consistent with other College policies, state, and/or federal laws/regulations. Examples of these restricted areas include but are not limited to:
If a service animal is restricted from certain areas, Disability Support Services (DSS) assists in evaluating and providing reasonable accommodations for the student.
College personnel must permit service animal access to property, events and/or activities with its handler when it is readily apparent that the animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for its handler. Examples include (1) a dog guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, (2) pulling an individual’s wheelchair, or (3) providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability.
If the need for the service animal is not apparent, College personnel may only ask the following of service animal handlers:
If the owner states that the animal is required because of a disability and that the animal has been trained to do work or a task for the owner, then the service animal must be admitted. If there is any doubt that an animal is a service animal, College personnel should admit the animal and then consult with the Disability Support Services office regarding future access.
College personnel may not ask about the nature of the handler’s disability or request medical documentation of disability. Handlers are not required to possess or provide any special documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, or to demonstrate the animal’s ability to perform work or tasks.
Specific questions or concerns related to the use of service animals on the RVC campus by visitors can be directed to the DSS Director: L.Shattuck@RockValleyCollege.edu or (815) 921-2371.
Service animal handlers are not required to register their service animal with the College. However, Disability Support Services does provide a voluntary registration process for interested service animal handlers. Voluntarily registering a service animal could assist the College if any problems arise, or if an emergency situation occurs and emergency personnel need to be notified of where the service animal might be located in the case of an emergency evacuation.
Service animals, while generally allowed in all areas of campus accessible to students, must be under their handler’s control at all times. Service animal handlers are expected to comply with the following:
The handler should ensure that the animal does not:
Handlers are responsible for any damage or injuries caused by their animals and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The cost of care, arrangements and responsibilities for the well-being of a service animal are the sole responsibility of the handler at all times.
Cleaning up after the animal is the sole responsibility of the handler. In the event that the handler is not physically able to clean up after the animal, it is then the responsibility of the handler to hire someone capable of cleaning up after the animal. The person cleaning up after the animal should abide by the following guidelines:
College personnel may only ask service animal handlers to remove their service animal from College premises or from the immediate area under the following circumstances:
Where a service animal is properly removed pursuant to this procedure, RVC will work with the handler to determine reasonable alternative opportunities to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.
Some people may have allergic reactions to animals that are substantial enough to qualify as disabilities. RVC will consider the needs of both persons in meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Students requesting allergy accommodations should contact Disability Support Services. Staff requesting allergy accommodations should contact the Human Resources office.
Emergency Situations – In the event of an emergency, the emergency response team (ERT) that responds should be trained to recognize service animals and be aware that the animal may be trying to communicate the need for help. The animal may become disoriented from the smell of smoke in a fire or laboratory emergency, from sirens or wind noise, or from shaking and moving ground. The handler or animal may be confused from the stressful situation. The ERT should be aware that the animal is trying to be protective and, in its confusion, is not to automatically be considered harmful. The ERT should make every effort to keep the animal with its handler. However, the ERT’s first effort should be toward the handler; this may necessitate leaving the animal behind in certain emergency evacuation situations.
Per Illinois State law, a dog being trained has the same rights as a fully trained dog when accompanied by a trainer and identified as such in any place of public accommodation (as defined in Section 5-101 of the Illinois Human Rights Act). Handlers of service dogs in training must also adhere to the requirements for service animals and are subject to the removal policies as outlined in this procedure.
Rock Valley College is committed to a prompt and effective resolution of any issues or concerns regarding service animals. If the handler has a concern, they should contact the Director of DSS.
Concerned College personnel or students should contact DSS in the following situations:
Any person dissatisfied by a decision concerning a service animal or an assistance animal may appeal through the office of Disability Support Services. Alternatively, information may also be obtained by phone, (815) 921-2371 or email at: RVC-DisabilityServices@RockValleyCollege.edu.
It is important to understand the role of a service dog, and to follow proper etiquette, so as to not interfere with the tasks the dog is trained to provide. Although it may be tempting to approach a service animal or want to pet one, distracting a service animal in any way (ex., by making noises, offering food, water, toys, or petting) may be dangerous to the animal’s handler, especially if the animal is a medical alert animal or brace/mobility support animal. In addition, it is important to show respect to individuals who use service animals by allowing them to go about their business uninterrupted and unbothered.
Simple rules of Etiquette for service animals and their handler:
Phone: (815) 921-2371
Fax: (815) 921-2379