UT recognizes that service or assistance animals can play an important role in facilitating the independence of individuals with certain types of disabilities. Allowing individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their appropriately trained service animal on UT campus and facilities (where animals are typically prohibited) is a reasonable modification of general UT policies and practices concerning animals on campus. However, the health and safety of all UT students, faculty, staff as well as the service animal are equally important. Therefore, only service animals that meet the criteria described in the Americans with Disabilities Act and supported by UT policies will be exempt from the rules that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals on UT premises. Policy 405
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or performs specific task(s) for a qualified individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals. The University may permit miniature horses on campus on a case-by-case basis, consistent with applicable law.
Assistance Animals (sometimes called Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Animals)
Provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Assistance or Support animals are not service animals even if prescribed by a physician or therapist.
Any domesticated animal that does not meet the definition of a service animal or assistance animal. A pet is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a service animal or a support animal.
Assistance animal accommodation procedure and guidelines
Utah Tech University will grant reasonable accommodation requests to persons with disabilities consistent with University policy and all relevant statutes including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. A person with a disability is one who: (a) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities; or (b) has a record of having such an impairment; or (c) is regarded as having such an impairment.
Utah Tech University will review and respond promptly to all reasonable accommodation requests. Utah Tech University may deny the requested accommodation if providing it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden or if the University finds no nexus between the disability and requested accommodation.
All information received by Utah Tech University regarding an individual’s disability, including physical, mental, psychological, and/or psychiatric conditions, and disability-related needs for a requested accommodation shall be kept confidential unless the individual authorizes the release of the information to a third party or Utah Tech University is required to produce the information in response to subpoena or court order.
If a resident of Utah Tech University housing has a disability and a disability-related need for a reasonable accommodation under federal, state, or local law, Utah Tech University will grant such accommodation including a request to keep an Assistance Animal. If the relationship between the individual’s disability and the need for the requested accommodation has not been provided, Utah Tech University has the right to deny the request. The University may also require additional documentation to establish the nexus for an Assistance Animal if it wasn’t originally provided by the student. Utah Tech University will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation. Utah Tech University will not discourage any individual from making a reasonable accommodation request, including a request to keep an Assistance Animal.
While it is policy to not allow any pets at Utah Tech University, Assistance Animals are not pets and will be allowed with approval. An applicant with a disability must make a request for reasonable accommodation in order to keep the Assistance Animal in campus housing.
Approved Assistance Animals must be contained in the owner’s assigned living accommodations except to the extent the owner is taking the animal outside for routine exercise and elimination. Assistance Animals are not allowed in any other campus facilities not otherwise open to animals including residential facility, common areas, and classrooms. The Assistance Animal must be properly restrained at all times and not permitted to run loose. The Assistance Animal must be well cared for at all times including provided with necessary food, water, and veterinary care. Any evidence of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or leaving the animal alone for unreasonably long periods of time may result in immediate removal of the animal and/or discipline for the owner.
Like any other resident, owners of Assistance Animals remain subject to the provisions of their leasing agreements. Owners must stay in compliance with all state and local animal laws including licensure and vaccination regulations. It is the owner’s responsibility to know and abide by these rules. The owner must clean up after the Assistance Animal including the removal or the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner. Utah Tech University may take action against the owner for damages caused by the Assistance Animal to the same extent that it takes against any residents who have caused similar damage.
The University may require the owner to remove the Assistance Animal from University housing if the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes substantial property damage. The animal may also be removed if the owner does not comply with the obligations set forth above including appropriate care for the animal. Utah Tech University will base such individualized determinations upon consideration of the behavior of the particular Assistance Animal and resident on a case-by-case basis, and in consultation with the Disability Resource Center, Housing and Resident Life, the applicant, the applicant’s spouse/parent (if the applicant is not the student), and other parties as appropriate. Utah Tech University will not base this determination on speculation or fear about the harm or damages an Assistance Animal may cause. Any removal of the Assistance Animal may be appealed pursuant to the Student Housing grievance procedure. Should the Assistance Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill the remainder of the housing contract.
Procedure for a Student Seeking an Emotional Support Animal
- The applicant shall obtain documentation from a health or social service professional such as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist attesting to the applicant’s disability. This document should verify that the applicant has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities and has need for an Assistance Animal.
- The applicant shall fill out the Application for Reasonable Accommodation for an Assistance Animal in Campus Housing. The application is available at the Housing and Resident Life Office and the Disability Resource Center. The completed and signed application should be returned to the Disability Resource Center for processing.
- If the request is approved, the applicant will be notified promptly. If the request is not approved, the applicant will be provided with documentation of the reasons for denial. If the requested accommodations are found to impose an undue financial and administrative burden, the Disability Resource Center will schedule a meeting with the applicant to discuss possible alternative accommodations. Utah Tech University is committed to participating in an interactive process with the person requesting the accommodation to reach an alternative.
- If request is approved the applicant must schedule an appointment with the Director of Housing and Resident Life to discuss the accommodation including discussion on responsibilities such as keeping the animal and other residents safe and free from disruption.
- The applicant shall inform the Disability Resource Center and the Director of Housing and Resident Life in the event that he or she no longer has a disability necessitating an Assistance Animal.