Service Animals and Assistance Animals

The University of Cincinnati seeks to accommodate persons with disabilities who need the assistance of service animals. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is "a dog individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability" (28 CFR part 36). 

Service Animals and Assistance Dogs in Training

Service animals under the ADA-AA and the Ohio Revised Code are dogs (and in particular circumstances, miniature horses) trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed must be directly related to the individual’s disability.

Assistance dogs in training under the Ohio Revised Code are defined as a dogs under the care of a trainer who are being trained to provide work or tasks for an individual who is blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired.  Typically, a dog undergoing puppy rearing focused on socialization and basic obedience training is not considered an assistance dog in training.

Service animals are not required to register, wear any identification such as vests or tags, nor is there any paperwork that you can require of someone to prove that their animal is a service animal. Two questions are permitted:

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

Although these two questions are permitted, Accessibility Resources is the designated office to ask these questions and interpret their answers for students.  Any questions or concerns regarding an individual’s service animal or assistance dog in training should be addressed to Accessibility Resources first.

While service animals and assistance dogs in training animals are not required to be registered or certified to be on campus, nor does their owner or trainer have to register with Accessibility Resources, it is highly encouraged that owners and trainers of these animals do contact us in order to provide full support and advocacy for you. 

Individuals with disabilities who have a service animal or trainers with an assistance dog in training may generally take their dog/animal anywhere on campus that is open to the public.  Exceptions are limited and questions regarding those exceptions should be addressed to Accessibility Resources. 

Assistance Animals

The University of Cincinnati does not allow students to have pets in University owned and operated housing. However, The University of Cincinnati recognizes that the reasonable accommodation of an Assistance Animal is sometimes necessary to afford a student with a mental health disability equal access to University residential communities. These animals provide emotional support and other kinds of assistance but do not perform work or tasks that would define them as Service Animals under the ADA. The need for an Assistance Animal due to disability must be identified by a qualified mental health professional and approved through Accessibility Resources on a case-by-case basis.

 A diagnosis by a mental health professional alone does not guarantee the request will be approved. When reviewing submitted documentation, Accessibility Resources considers the nature of the symptoms and all available accommodations and supports when making final decisions and recommendations. Accessibility Resources reserves the right to request additional documentation when making a final determination.

If a student wishes to make a formal request for an Assistance Animal, they must:

  1. Complete an Assistance Animal Request Form
  2. Provide a completed Assistance Animal Health Professional Form. It is the student’s responsibility to provide this form to their medical professional and upload the completed form to their Assistance Animal Request Form.

Accessibility Resources will review each Assistance Animal request on a case-by-case basis.  Approval decisions will only be communicated via UC email accounts.  If approved, the student will receive additional forms for completion and will need to schedule a meeting with Accessibility Resources to discuss polices and expectations for the Owner and that of animal before an Assistance Animal can be moved into University managed housing, on or off campus.   

Service Animal and Assistance Animal Policy

Definitions

A 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”) and the Ohio Revised Code.  The work or tasks performed must be directly related to the individual's disability.  Under particular circumstances set forth in the ADA regulations, a miniature horse may qualify as a Service Animal. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship (e.g. Assistance Animals) do not constitute work or tasks for purposes of this definition. 

As set forth by the Ohio Revised Code, a dog under the care of a trainer who is being trained to provide work or tasks for an individual who is blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired.  A dog undergoing puppy rearing focused on socialization and/or basic obedience training is not considered an Assistance Dog in Training.

A companion animal that provides physical assistance, emotional support, and other kinds of assistance but does not perform work or tasks that would define it as a Service Animal. Emotional Support Animals that are necessary to afford the person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing are one type of Assistance Animal.

A student with a disability who receives assistance from a Service Animal, a personal care attendant who handles the Service Animal for a student with a disability, or a student trainer of an Assistance Dog in Training.

A student with a disability who has been approved by Accessibility Resources to have an Assistance Animal in University housing.

All housing managed, controlled, or owned by the University.