Service Animal Guidelines
New York’s Civil Rights Law requires public facilities to allow guide dogs, service dogs, and hearing dogs. In New York state, a service dog is a dog that has been or is being, trained to work or perform tasks for a person with a disability (including psychiatric disabilities). While Service Dogs may accompany a person with a disability throughout the campus (e.g., to academic buildings, the library or dining halls) without approval from the Accessibility Resources Office, if the decision is made to register the animal while on campus, the registration process below must be followed.
Service Animal Guidelines
In accordance with existing Hamilton College policy, pets (including dogs) are not permitted inside College buildings. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) permits persons requiring service animal assistance to “generally” have complete and unfettered access to facilities. Accordingly, the purpose of these guidelines is to outline Hamilton’s ADA conformance strategy and any qualifying exceptions to existing policy in a manner that:
- Supports persons in need of service animal assistance;
- Does not subject service animals themselves or other persons to undue risk/harm based upon the sensitive nature of the activities performed in certain areas (laboratories, food preparation areas, etc.), and;
- Does not threaten to invalidate current or future teaching/research activities by the presence of service animals.
Responsibilities of Persons Requiring Service Animal Assistance
Persons requiring service animal assistance are responsible for:
- Registering their animal with the Accessibility Resources Office.
- The well-being of the service animal.
- The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of any/all animal waste.
- The control of the animal at all times. If a service animal exhibits unacceptable behavior, its handler is expected to employ proper training/restraint techniques to correct the situation.
- The harnessing, leashing or tethering of the service animal, unless an individual’s disability precludes such actions, or the restraints would otherwise interfere with the service animal’s performance tasks.
- Following all requirements associated with Hamilton’s policies and Village of Clinton, Oneida County and NYS law (including vaccination and licensure).
- The cost of any damage the service animal causes.
Conditions that could Revoke Service Animal Facility Access
Persons requiring service animal assistance access to any Hamilton College facility may be denied access if any of the following conditions exist:
- The animal is found to be mistreated or neglected by the handler.
- The service animal is disruptive and not effectively controlled.
- The presence of the service animal would fundamentally alter the College’s programs or operations.
- The service animal’s presence, behavior or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property or the health/safety of others.
- The service animal is not housebroken.
Service Animal Facility Access Exceptions
Taylor Science Center
Due to the nature of certain laboratory-type activities performed in the Taylor Science Center, it is necessary to restrict service animal access as follows:
- The following Taylor Science Center labs are specifically off-limits to service animals at all times:
- The vivarium suite (rooms 3072 through 3083), Robinson (Psychology) labs 3086 and 3087, and the 3rd floor hallways directly adjoining the vivarium, where research animal handling and care is regular and routine.
- Any of the following 4 labs with biosafety cabinets for the use of BSL-2 agents:
- 1077/1079—Blum conjoined research labs (Chemistry)
- 2047—Townsend research lab (Biology)
- 2062—Downs research lab (Biology)
- 2093/2094—Tissue culture lab (Biology)
The Electron Microscopy/Imaging suite (rooms 2039 through 2045) where both extremely sensitive equipment and dangerous chemical use is regular and routine.
- Certain areas (other than those noted above) of the Taylor Science Center may be off-limits to service animals based upon various qualitative and/or experiment-specific criteria. The list of such criteria below is illustrative but not exhaustive.
- In other teaching/research labs episodically used for the handling/manipulation of BSL-2 agents, recombinant DNA or research animals, service animals are not permitted.
- In other teaching/research labs where the handling of chemical or physical materials could result in unsafe conditions for service animals unprotected by personal protective equipment (PPE), service animals should not be allowed.
- If the faculty member and person(s) requiring the service animal can determine reasonable accommodations to safeguard the animal in such instances (like restricting the animal to a location where it maintains unobstructed line-of-sight to the person in need, but is otherwise out of the way of standard lab traffic), the parties can revisit this restriction.
Food Cooking/Preparation Areas
To conform with NYS Department of Health food sanitation regulations, and to safeguard the health/well-being of service animals from the inherent hazards of food cooking/preparation areas, such locations are specifically off-limits to service animals at all times.
Employees and students are obligated to administer and abide by these guidelines in good faith, so as to facilitate the use and enjoyment of all Hamilton College facilities regardless of disability. Conflicts between various parties that cannot be satisfactorily arbitrated should contact Allen Harrison, assistant dean for accessibility resources, by phone at 315-859-4021, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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