UCR Policies and Procedures

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Policy Title:                   Assistive Animals (Service and Support Animals)


Policy Number:             850-39


Responsible Officer:

Associate Vice Chancellor/Chief Compliance Officer

Responsible Office:

Chief Compliance Office

Origination Date:


Date of Revision:


Date of Last Review:



Guidance in the Use of Animals for Disability Accommodation Services on Campus 


 I.  Policy Summary

The University affirms the rights of individuals who require Assistive Animals to participate in all aspects of campus life. A request for an Assistive Animal (Service or Support) as an accommodation requires an individualized analysis reached through the interactive process. This policy implements federal and state laws regarding access for Assistive Animals that assist individuals with disabilities at the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside).


II.  Definitions

·        Accommodation:  Any modification or adjustment in policies, practices, procedures, or work/school/housing environment to enable a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities and access to University rights, privileges, benefits, and services. 

·        Assistive Animals:  California law defines “Assistive Animals” as animals that are necessary as reasonable accommodations for Individuals with a Disability. “Assistive Animals” include service and support animals. 

·        Individual with a Disability:  An “Individual with a Disability” is a person who:   

o   has a physical and/or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities (like breathing, walking, seeing, hearing, or performing manual tasks); or

o   has a record (past history) of this kind of impairment.

Note:  In California disabilities are broadly defined as conditions that limit a major life activity, including physical and mental disabilities, as well as medical conditions; such as cancer or HIV/AIDS. California definitions and protections can be broader than protections under federal law. 

·       Interactive Process:  The process by which the University engages in a dialogue about limitations due to a disability in order to develop accommodations. 

·        Service Animals:  “Service Animals” are trained animals (dogs or miniature horses) that perform functions and tasks that individuals with a disability cannot perform for themselves. The task(s) performed must be directly related to the disability of the individual. 

·       Support Animals:  “Support Animals” provide support to individuals with a disability and are defined as animals that provide emotional, cognitive, or other similar support to individuals with a disability, including, but not limited to, traumatic brain injuries or mental disabilities, such as major depression.

·       University Facilities:  University Facilities refers to all buildings and grounds, including athletic and recreational fields, on the main campus.


III.  Policy 

A.  Purpose

It is the policy of UC Riverside that accommodations are made to allow qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions and/or to allow individuals with disabilities to participate in UC Riverside educational programs, benefits, and opportunities. Assistive Animals used by individuals with disabilities are generally permitted on campus in accordance with the provisions of this policy. Pets are restricted on campus.  UCR Policy 850-38; Pets on campus provides more information.

B.  Scope

This policy applies to all facilities owned, leased, and/or under the control of UC Riverside. It applies to employees, students, University affiliates, visitors, contractors, and applicants for admission to or employment with the University.   

C.  Overview

This policy is in accordance with state and federal laws, as well as applicable system-wide policies and procedures. If any provision herein conflicts with the applicable provisions of the above federal regulations, the federal regulations will apply. If a state law provides a greater right and/or protection to an individual with a disability as it relates to the use of Assistive Animals at a public institution of higher education, the state law will prevail.


IV.  Procedures 

A.  Service Animals in Classrooms

Service Animals are permitted in campus classrooms. Students and faculty should contact UC Riverside Student Disability Resource Center for additional guidance.

B.  Support Animals in Classrooms

Students who may need a Support Animal as a disability-related accommodation in campus classrooms, must contact UC Riverside Student Disability Resource Center for approval.

C.  Assistive Animals in Laboratories, Animal Facilities, and Research Areas

There may be a situation or a setting where an Assistive Animal could pose a substantial and direct threat to health and safety. These areas may include laboratories, animal research areas, medical facilities, and food preparation areas. An individualized assessment is required before the Assistive Animal may be approved/denied entry. An individualized assessment should include the nature, duration and severity of the risk, the probability of harm or injury, and the availability of modifications to minimize the risk. Departments may require safety precautions. Students should contact UC Riverside Student Disability Resource Center for additional guidance regarding Assistive Animals. Employees are directed to UC Riverside Human Resources for additional guidance regarding Assistive Animals.

D.  Assistive Animals in University Housing

Residents should contact UC Riverside Student Disability Resource Center to request an accommodation.

E.  Assistive Animals in the Workplace

Employees are directed to UC Riverside Human Resources to request an accommodation.

F.  Reporting an Incident/Lodging a Complaint

1.    The reporting of an incident or the lodging of a complaint involving the Assistive Animal of a student may be directed to UC Riverside Student Disability Resource Center. The reporting of an incident or the lodging of a complaint involving the Assistive Animal of an employee may be directed to and UC Riverside Human Resources. In an emergency situation, call 911. The Student Disability Resource Center and Human Resources will address and refer matters as appropriate.  


2.    The following table is provided to assist members of the campus community in reporting concerns about noncompliance with the policy. There will be no reprisal against an individual seeking compliance assistance.


Noncompliance By

Refer To

Faculty & Non-Senate Faculty

Academic Personnel/Vice Provost of Academic Resolution

Staff Member

Unit Supervisor


Unit Supervisor


Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Programs


UC Riverside Police Department (UCPD)

           G.  Excluding Assistive Animals from University Facilities

Failure to comply with responsibilities herein could result in the exclusion of an Assistive Animal from University Facilities. If it is determined that an Assistive Animal must be excluded from University Facilities, the individual bringing and using the Assistive Animal will be offered an opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without that particular Assistive Animal. Conflicts arising due to the presence of an Assistive Animal will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.


V.  Responsibilities

A.  Generally

An Individual with a disability may bring and use a Service Animal on campus. A request for permitting an individual to bring and use a Support Animal on campus are determined on a case by case basis. Requests are reviewed and processed in accordance with federal and state applicable laws and regulations, as well as applicable campus policies and procedures.

B.  Campus Community Members

Members of the University community are expected to abide by the following practices:

·        Do not inquire for details about the disability of an individual who brings and uses an Assistive Animal on campus. The nature of the disability is a private matter.

·        Allow a Service Animal to accompany the individual it is serving at all times and in all places on campus, except where the presence of the Service Animal presents an unreasonable threat to the health or safety of other individuals on campus. In some situations or settings, such as animal research laboratories and areas housing research or teaching animals, it may be necessary to restrict a Service Animal. In those situations or settings, UC Riverside will work with the individual with the disability and the faculty member or designate to determine other options for the Individual with the Disability to receive the benefits of the University.

·         Allow a Support Animal to accompany the individual as an approved accommodation as determined through an interactive process.

·         Do not touch or pet an Assistive Animal.

·         Do not feed an Assistive Animal.

·         Do not deliberately startle an Assistive Animal.

·         Do not separate or attempt to separate a handler from their or their Assistive Animal.

C.  Individuals with Assistive Animals

·         An individual handling or using an Assistive Animal on campus must make sure that it is:

o   In good health.

o   On a leash or properly restrained at all times.

o   Controlled by responsible individuals at all times.

o   Properly vaccinated and that the vaccinations are current.

o   Maintained in a manner that takes into consideration the health and hygiene of the Assistive Animal.

o   With the individual at all times while on campus.

·         An individual bringing and using an Assistive Animal on campus is responsible for:

o   Any damage caused by the Assistive Animal and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury.

o   The care, supervision, and well-being of the Assistive Animal at all times while on campus.

·         An individual bringing and using an Assistive Animal on campus must:

o   Take responsibility for meeting the applicable legal requirements including, but not limited to, maintaining the applicable license.

o   Make sure the Assistive Animal is under control.

o   Adhere to cleanup rules.  

D.  Student Disability Resource Center

For contact information, visit http://sdrc.ucr.edu/index.html

E.  Human Resources

For contact information, visit http://hr.ucr.edu/employee/disability.html

F.  UC Riverside Police Department (UCPD)

Assistive Animals or any other animals that present an immediate safety risk on campus should be reported by calling 911. UCPD officers will:

·         immediately respond to stop an animal in circumstances where the animal reasonably appears to pose an imminent threat to human safety; and

·         investigate reported violations of:

o    California Penal Code Section 365.6, any individual who appears to be intentionally interfering with the use of an Assistive Animal; and,

o    California Penal Code Section 365.7, any individual who knowingly and fraudulently represents herself or himself as the owner or trainer of an Assistive Animal.


VI.  Related Information

·         EEOC Enforcement Guidance:  Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

·         Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA)

·         The Fair Housing Act

·         California Code of Regulations, Title 2, Section 11065

·         California Fair Employment and Housing Act (CalFEHA)

·         California Civil Code Section 54.1

·         California Penal Code Section 365.6

·         California Penal Code Section 365.7

·         UC Policy PPSM-81:  Reasonable Accommodation

·         UCR Policy Number 850-38:  Pets on Campus

·         University of California Policy PACAOS-140: Guidelines Applying to Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability


VII.  Revision History

This is a new policy. The policy is reviewed and updated as needed by the Policy Owners.