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Assistance animals are service animals and emotional support animals, and they fulfill important roles for people with disabilities. They provide access to services, programs, activities, employment, and dwellings. Information on the rights and requirements of assistance animals, and answers to frequently asked questions are provided below.

University Policies and General Resources

Types of Assistance & Service Animals

CONTACT US

University ADA Coordinator
(920) 424-1166
(920) 424-2021
afaction@uwosh.edu

Office Hours
Dempsey Hall 337
Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Service Animals
Service animals are not pets. They are assistive tools like hearing aids and wheelchairs. A service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is only a dog or miniature horse specifically trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability. Examples include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind, alerting individuals with a hearing loss to sounds, warning and protecting a person having a seizure, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving a dropped item. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence is not considered work or a task.

Under Wisconsin state law, a service animal may be any species, except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review, that is trained to perform a task directly related to the person’s disability. These service animals are only permitted in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public such as the Union. Additional information about service animals:

  • Not required to wear a harness, be tethered or leashed if it interferes with the person’s disability, but must always be under the control of its handler.
  • Fully trained service dogs or miniature horses are permitted in virtually all locations or in most spaces the handler can go, except for employment work spaces or when its presence interferes with legitimate safety requirements of the facility.
  • Fully trained service animals that are not dogs or miniature horses are only permitted in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public (e.g., Reeve Union).
  • Handlers may not be asked for documentation for the animal or for their own disability or to have their animal demonstrate the task or work it performs.
  • Handlers may not be charged a service or entrance fee for the service animal.
  • Not permitted in employment workspaces unless approved as a reasonable accommodation by ADA Coordinator.
Service Animals -In-Training
Service animals-in-training are not recognized under the ADA and are not a reasonable accommodation, but they are protected under Wisconsin state law. They can be any species, except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review, and are only permitted in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public. Service animals-in-training are not permitted in classrooms or university housing. These animals are undergoing obedience or task-specific training such as: settling, attention to and focus on the handler, and behaviors associated with disability access. Additional information about service animals-in-training:

  • Permitted only in facilities offering goods or services to the general public, unless their presence would jeopardize the safe operation or fundamentally alter the program, service, or activity in the location.
  • Must always be on a harness or leash and wear a special cape.
  • Must always be under the control of the handler and in training mode.
  • The handler may be asked to produce certification or documentation of a training school. However, a handler with a disability may not be asked for documentation of their own disability or certification or documentation that the animal is trained or is being trained.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are any species, except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review, that alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. An emotional support animal is not a pet and could be a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Emotional support animals, unlike service animals, have no special training to perform a specific task. Additional information about emotional support animals:

  • Not permitted in any university facilities, including those offering goods or services to the general public, unless approved as a reasonable accommodation by a university disability authority.
  • Not required to wear a harness or cape.
  • Not required to have training or any training certification.
  • Must always be under the control of the handler.
Therapy Animals
Therapy animals provide affection and comfort to the public, typically in settings such as hospitals, disaster sites, or schools. These pets have a temperament suitable for interacting with members of the public and enjoy doing so. Therapy animals and therapy animals-in-training have no legal rights of access and are only permitted in facilities where they are welcomed and approved pursuant to UWS 18.08. While the handler may be a person with a disability, the therapy animal does not provide a disability-related service to the handler as its primary activity is interacting with and attending to the public.

 

Side-by-Side Comparison

 ADA Service AnimalsWisconsin State Law Service AnimalsService Animals-In-TrainingEmotional Support AnimalsTherapy Animals
Permitted at the University?Yes, with limited exceptionsOnly in facilities offering goods or services to the general publicOnly in facilities offering goods or services to the general publicOnly if approved as a reasonable accommodationNo, unless approved per UWS 18.08
SpeciesDog or miniature horseAny species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized reviewAny species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized reviewAny species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized reviewAny species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review
RequirementsTrained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability;
under handler’s control at all times
Trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability;
under handler’s control at all times
Harnessed or leashed and wearing a special cape at all timesUnder the handler’s control at all times; other requirements as determined by a University Disability AuthorityIf permitted on campus under UWS 18.08, must be leashed and under the handler’s control unless otherwise authorized
Legal ProtectionADAWisconsin State LawWisconsin State LawFair Housing Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation ActNone

Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly asked questions are listed below and taken from this ADA Frequently Asked Questions guide. Contact the ADA Coordinator with any additional questions.
What is a service animal?
  • Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) must be directly related to the person’s disability.
  • Under Wisconsin state law, a service animal can be any species (except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review) trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) must be directly related to the person’s disability, and the service animal is only allowed in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public.
Are service animals-in-training, emotional support, or therapy animals considered service animals under the ADA?
No. Since these animals are either in the process of being trained or have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they are not protected under the ADA. Other applicable laws, such as Wisconsin Statute 106.52(1)(fm), permit service animals-in-training to be brought into places offering goods or services to the general public if the animal is wearing a harness or leash and a special cape. Individuals seeking to have an emotional support animal at the university must contact the appropriate university disability authority.
Can a service animal be any breed of dog?
Yes. The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breed, unless the dog itself poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?
No. Neither the ADA nor state law requires service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or special harness. The service animal, however, must always be under the handler’s control.
How can I know an animal is a service animal protected under the ADA or state law?
Under the ADA, a service animal is only a dog or miniature horse, whereas under Wisconsin state law, a service animal can be any species (except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review). Under both laws, a service animal is required to be under the handler’s control at all times. A service animal may be leashed or wear a vest, but this is not required if it interferes with a person’s disability. If it is not obvious that the animal is a service animal, the handler may only be asked the following two specific questions:

  1. Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Staff may never request any documentation for the animal, require the animal to demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of a person’s disability.

Can a service animal be required to be registered with the University?
Generally, no. Students or program participants may voluntarily register their service animal. Employees work with the ADA Coordinator to request their service animal to be permitted in their workplace as a reasonable accommodation.
Are there any restrictions on an employee having a service animal in their university workplace?
Yes, there are restrictions for employees with service animals. Service animals are not protected under the employment provisions of the ADA. Employees requesting to have their service animal at work must contact the ADA Coordinator to determine if the animal is a reasonable workplace accommodation. The Rocky Mountain ADA Center offers this short, captioned, “Service Animals in the Workplace & Title I of the ADA” video that provides further information.
Who is responsible for any assistance animal permitted at UW Oshkosh?
The handler of a service animal, service animal-in-training, emotional support animal, or therapy animal is responsible for caring and supervising the animal, including toileting, feeding, grooming, and other care.
My emotional support animal is certified. Can I take it with me to work or class?
No. Generally, emotional support animals are only permitted within university housing at UWO. Even with certification, an emotional support animal needs to be approved as a reasonable accommodation by a university disability authority. Students requesting an emotional support animal in housing work with the Accessibility Center in the Dean of Students Office and employees work with the ADA Coordinator.  All other visitors or guests contact the ADA Coordinator for further information.
Can I bring a therapy animal to my staff meeting or to my student organization meeting?
No. Therapy animals are not protected under any federal or state laws and are not an accommodation for individuals with disabilities unless approved as an emotional support animal. Therapy animals are considered pets and per UWS 18.08, they are prohibited from the university at all times except when explicitly authorized.
Who are UW Oshkosh's University Disability Authorities?
The following entities have disability subject matter expertise and ensure compliance to applicable laws protecting individuals with disabilities.

Can assistance or service animals be excluded from university space?

Exclusion of animals:

Service animals, Service Animals-in-Training, and Emotional Support Animals may be excluded from the university space for the following reasons:

  • The animal’s presence fundamentally alters the program, service, or activity in the location
  • The animal’s presence jeopardizes the safe operation of the program
  • The animal is not housebroken, under the handler’s control, or is disruptive

Note:

  • Exclude the animal and not the handler
  • Reasonable efforts must be made to offer the program, service, or activity to the handler if the animal is not permitted

  Phone:  (920) 424-1166

  Fax: (920) 424- 2021

  Email: hroffice@uwosh.edu

Monday – Friday 7:45AM – 4:30PM

  Dempsey Hall 328
800 Algoma Blvd. 
Oshkosh, WI 54901