5.39 Service and Companion Animals

Macalester College recognizes that service and companion animals can play an important role in facilitating the independence of some individuals with certain types of disabilities. Therefore, an appropriately trained animal, under the control of its partner/handler, may be allowed in campus facilities where animals would typically not be permitted.

The health and safety of Macalester College students, faculty, staff, and the service/companion animal is an important concern; therefore, only service animals that meet the criteria described below will be exempt from the rules that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals.

Service Animals

Per Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Macalester College accommodates service animals. A service animal is defined as any guide dog, signal dog, or miniature horse individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. Students with service animals are permitted to bring their service animal in all areas of a place of public accommodation. This includes any private residence space assigned to the student. Documentation of need for a service animal should be sent to the Director of Disability Services, disabilityservices@macalester.edu; First Floor Kagin Commons.

Companion Animals

Per the Fair Housing Act, Macalester College provides reasonable accommodations for companion animals (i.e., an emotional support animal) in the residence halls. Companion/Therapy animal is an animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being. A person qualifies for reasonable accommodation if:

(1) the person has a documented disability; (2) the animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the residence halls; and (3) there is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

Individuals using service, therapy, or companion animals are responsible for their animals at all times. Use of the animal may not constitute a direct threat to the health and safety of others. The owner is responsible for the health of the animal with verification from a qualified veterinarian or service animal school, for cleaning up after the animal, including the sanitary disposal of animal wastes, for any property damage caused by the animal, for the behavior of the animal in private and public places, and for due care and diligence in the sue of the animal on campus.

Companion animals are only allowed within the residence halls. The College will not permit companion animals if they would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others; would pose an undue financial and administrative burden; or would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider's operations. For example, if a roommate has asthma or allergies or fear of the animal, it is not reasonable for the animal to live in the room/apartment. Efforts would be made to find an alternative housing arrangement but it would be dependent on the time of the notification for the need for the companion animal and the availability of housing. Documentation of the need for a companion animal should be sent to the Director of Disability Services, disabilityservices@macalester.edu; First Floor Kagin Commons.

Requirements of service/companion animals and their owners include:

  • Animals must be licensed in accordance with city regulations and, if appropriate, must wear a valid vaccination tag.
  • Animals must be in good health. Any service/companion animals occupying college housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.
  • Owners of service animals must provide verification that the animal meets minimum training standards from a recognized school for service animals.
  • Service animals must wear some type of easily recognized identification symbol (i.e., harness, backpack). The owner of the service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times.
  • The owner is responsible for appropriate waste clean-up and overall cleanliness of the animal.
  • The service/companion animal owner is responsible for the appropriate management of the animal in all college facilities. Disruptive and/or aggressive behavior on the part of the animal may result in the owner being asked to remove the animal from college facilities.

Students with Service/Companion Animals

Students with disabilities desiring to use a service animal on campus must contact the Director of Disability Services to register as a student with a documented disability. The Director will assist the student in determining any additional accommodation appropriate to the functional limitations of their disability. A student with a disability who uses a service animal and who resides in campus owned housing is required to alert the Department of Residential Life of the animal's status prior to arrival to campus and must follow procedures to register the animal.

Etiquette with Service/Companion Animals

  • Allow a service/companion animal to accompany the partner at all times and everywhere on campus except where service/companion animals are specifically prohibited.
  • Do not pet a service/companion animals without permission of the owner; petting a service animal when the animal is working distracts the animal from the task at hand. Service dogs typically wear a leather harness, scarf or sign to indicate they are working animals.
  • Do not feed a service/companion animal. The service/companion 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/companion animal.
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate a partner/handler from her or his service/companion animal.