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Animal Policy

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Salem State Residence Life's Policy on Animals

Animals are not permitted at Salem State University (“Salem State” or the “University”) except for Service Animals and Assistance Animals, or as required by law.1 Under certain circumstances, Salem State can ban Service Animals and Assistance Animals or other approved animals from the University. These circumstances are discussed below.

I. Definitions

A. Service Animals

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), individuals with disabilities are permitted to bring Service Animals into Salem State facilities such as classrooms, libraries, dining halls, and residence halls. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. 

 Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
 

B. Assistance Animals

Assistance Animals are only permitted in university housing. They are not permitted in other campus locations such as classrooms, libraries, or dining halls.

The following definition is provided by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

An Assistance Animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Assistance animals perform many disability-related functions, including but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, alerting persons to impending seizures, or providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support.

Assistance Animals must be approved by disability services as a reasonable accommodation in university housing. An Assistance Animal is not a Service Animal. Some, but not all, Assistance Animals are professionally trained.

Students must request the use of an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation in disability services. Assistance Animals may be considered for residence in university housing, but they are not permitted in any other area on campus.
 

C. Pet

A “Pet” is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a Service Animal or an Assistance Animal. Students are not permitted to bring pets on university property or keep pets in university housing, except for fish in a 10-gallon tank.
 

D. Approved Animal

An “Approved Animal” is a Service Animal under this Policy, or an Assistance Animal that has been allowed access to university housing pursuant to the policy.
 

E. Owner

The “Owner” is the student, employee, or other person with a disability with a Service Animal or Assistance Animal, handler of the Service Animal or Assistance Animal, or Service Animal trainer.

II. Service Animals

A. Procedures for Having a Service Animal on Campus

1. Non-Dorm Areas (e.g. classrooms, library, dining hall)

Students requiring Service Animals are permitted to have such animals on campus without going through the reasonable accommodation process. If the responses are not readily apparent, Salem State can make two inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a Service Animal. It may ask:

  1. if the student requires the animal because of a disability; and
  2. what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. The university only will ask these questions if it is not readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

Salem State will not ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability, or for proof of certification or training as a Service Animal.

This policy does not apply to:

  1. University-sanctioned programs involving animals, such as the use of therapy dogs during exams. Disability Services must be contacted to determine whether the University will sanction such programs;
  2. on-duty police horses or K-9 dogs; or
  3. tropical fish or goldfish in the residence halls.

2. Service Animals in University Housing

Salem State requests that students who have been accepted to the university with housing, and require Service Animals in university housing, read and

sign this policy, and return it to disability services. See Section (II)(A)(1) above. Disability services will inform the residence life and housing office.

The university will notify the residential building staff that a student has a Service Animal, as appropriate. In addition, the university will, if applicable,

notify the student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) that the Service Animal will be residing in shared assigned living space.

B. Requirements of Service Animals and Their Owners

  1. Training: To work on campus, a Service Animal must be trained specifically to perform a service function.
  2. Control: The Owner must be in full control of the Service Animal at all times. The Service Animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the Owner is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service of the animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the Service Animal must be otherwise under the Owner’s controls (e.g. via voice control or signals). Salem State is not responsible for the care or supervision of a Service Animal
  3. Registration and Health: The Service Animal must be in good health. All Service Animals must be licensed, as required under Massachusetts General Laws. As part of the licensing requirements, each dog must be up-to-date on rabies vaccines, and wear a current rabies vaccination tag.
  4. Clean-up Rule: The Owner must: 1) always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces whenever the animal and Owner are off the Owner’s property; 2) never allow the animal to defecate on any property, public or private, unless the Owner immediately removes the waste; and 3) be responsible for the proper disposal of the animal’s feces and for any damage caused by the waste or its removal.

C. Procedures for Relating to Service Animals and Their Owners

In relating to Service Animals and their Owners, faculty, staff and students should:

  1. Allow a Service Animal to accompany the Owner at all times and everywhere on campus, except where Service Animals are specifically prohibited due to environmental, or safety hazards (e.g. certain research laboratories, mechanical rooms, custodial closets, areas where protective clothing is necessary, or areas where there is a danger to the animal).
  2. Always speak to the Owner first. The Service Animal is working and should not be distracted.
  3. Refrain from petting, feeding, or deliberately startling a Service Animal. Resist the temptation to offer treats to the Service Animal.
  4. Immediately report any disruptive behavior of a Service Animal to university police. No attempt should be made to separate an Owner from his or her Service Animal.
  5. Any questions regarding Service Animals or their Owners should be directed to disability services at 978.542.6217 (for students), or human resources at 978.542.6123 (for faculty/staff).

D. Removal of Service Animals

Under the following conditions, Salem State can request that a Service Animal be removed from the university.

  1. The Service Animal is out of control and the Service Animal’s Owner does not take effective action to control it; or;
  2. The Service Animal is not housebroken; or
  3. The Service Animal is a direct threat to others; or
  4. The presence of the animal fundamentally alters the nature of the services, programs, or activities provided by Salem State.

If the university receives a report that a Service Animal meets one or more of the conditions specified above in D(1) through D(4), disability services will attempt to resolve the matter with the Owner. If a resolution cannot be agreed on, the university can decide to sanction the Owner, including removal of the Service Animal. If the university determines that a Service Animal must be removed, the Owner can appeal such decision to the dean of students.

To appeal, within five days of the sanction, the Owner must submit an appeal letter to the dean of students that explains in detail the reason(s) for the appeal. After receiving the letter of appeal, the dean of students or designees(s) will review the written appeal and will notify the Owner on the determination of the case, generally within five days.

Note that if an Owner appeals, the Service Animal can remain on campus pending the final appeal determination, unless the university has determined that the Service Animal is a threat to others.
 

Miniature Horses

Note that only dogs trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities are included in the definition of Service Animals.

However, Salem State will make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability.

In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, Salem State will consider: 1) the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether Salem State can accommodate these features; 2) whether the Owner has sufficient control of the miniature horse; 3) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; and 4) whether the miniature horse’s presence in a specific facility compromises legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation. A student with a disability requesting the use of a miniature horse to perform work or tasks in connection with the disability must contact disability services and provide the appropriate documentation so that the office can make a determination regarding the use of the miniature horse on campus.

Sections II(A), II(B), II(C), and II(D) apply to miniature horses trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. If a student wants to bring a miniature horse without such training to campus housing, the student must obtain approval through the process outlined in Section III.

III. Assistance Animals

A. Procedures for Requesting an Assistance Animal

1. Request for Reasonable Accomodations

Students who have been accepted to the university with housing may request that they be permitted to bring an Assistance Animal to university housing. Such requests go through Disability Services, and are considered requests for reasonable accommodations. Unlike the use of a Service Animal, the university must approve the use of an Assistance Animal as a reasonable accommodation.

A student requesting permission to keep an Assistance Animal in university housing must make a formal request to disability services. To do so, the student must: 1) meet with a staff member from disability services to discuss the requested accommodation, and fill out the “Request Form for Disability Accommodations” form with the staff member; and 2) provide Disability Services documentation of his/her disability, if such disability is not readily apparent (see section 2 below). The student must submit this documentation no later than July 1 if making the request for the fall semester, and no later than December 1 if making the request for the spring semester. Documentation will be submitted annually thereafter. Although requests for Assistance Animals submitted after these dates will be considered, Salem State cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ needs for Assistance Animals, including any needs that develop during the semester.
 

2. Documentation

A student requesting the use of an Assistance Animal in university housing must provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional including:

  1. verification of the student’s disability, if such disability is not readily apparent;
  2. statement regarding how the animal serves as an accommodation for the documented disability, if not readily apparent; and
  3. statement regarding how the need for the Assistance Animal relates to the ability of the student to use and gain benefit from University housing. Any necessary documentation must be dated within the last six months.
     

3. Review and Notification

Disability Services will review documentation and arrange a meeting with the requestor. If disability services approves the request, this policy will be reviewed carefully with the Owner at that time. The Owner must review and sign this policy. The Owner must provide a copy of the signed policy to disability services either by regular mail or by dropping it off in person.

Upon the approval of an Assistance Animal to reside in campus housing, the university will notify the residential building staff, as appropriate. In addition, the university will, if applicable, notify the student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) to solicit their acknowledgment of the approval, and notify them that the Assistance Animal will be residing in shared assigned living space.
 

4. Appeal

If the university denies a student’s request for an Assistance Animal, the can appeal such decision to the dean of students. To appeal, within five days of notification of the denial the student must submit an appeal letter to the dean of students that explains in detail the reason(s) for the appeal. The dean of students or designee(s) will review the written appeal and will notify the student on the determination of the case generally, within five days.

B. Requirements of Assistance Animals and Their Owners

  1. Control: The Owner must be in full control of the Assistance Animal at all times. The Assistance Animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the Owner is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service of the animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the Assistance Animal must be otherwise under the Owner’s controls (e.g. via voice control or signals). Salem State is not responsible for the care or supervision of an Assistance Animal.
  2. Registration and Health: The Assistance Animal must be in good health. All Assistance Animals must be licensed, as required under Massachusetts General Laws. As part of the licensing requirements, each dog must be up-to-date on rabies vaccines, and wear a current rabies vaccination tag.
  3. Clean-up Rule: The Owner must: 1) always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces whenever the animal and Owner are off the Owner’s property; 2) never allow the animal to defecate on any property, public or private, unless the Owner immediately removes the waste; and 3) be responsible for the proper disposal of the animal’s feces and for any damage caused by the waste or its removal. Receptacles will be provided which will be emptied on a regular basis by university personnel.

C. Removal of Assistance Animals

Under the following conditions, Salem State can request that an Assistance Animal be removed from the university.

  1. The Assistance Animal is out of control and the animal’s Owner does not take effective action to control it; or
  2. The Assistance Animal is not housebroken; or
  3. The Assistance Animal is a direct threat to others; or
  4. The Assistance Animal causes substantial physical damage to the property of others; or
  5. The Assistance Animal poses an undue financial or administrative burden; or
  6. The presence of the Assistance Animal fundamentally alters the nature of the services, programs, or activities provided by Salem State; or
  7. The Owner fails to submit required documentation annually, by the dates specified in section III(A)(1).

If a report is made that the Assistance Animal has met one or more of the conditions outlined in C(1) through C(7), disability services and residence life may discuss the potential removal of the Assistance Animal with the Owner. After such finding that the animal must be removed, the Owner will be notified of the decision made by the disability services and residence life. If the university determines that an Assistance Animal must be removed, the Owner will be notified by disability services and residence life. The Owner can appeal such decision to the dean of students or designee. 

To appeal, within five days of notification of the removal determination, the Owner must submit an appeal letter to the dean of students that explains in detail the reason(s) for the appeal. After receiving the letter of appeal, the dean of students or designee(s) will review the written appeal and will notify the Owner on the determination of the case, generally within five days.

Note that if an Owner appeals, the Assistance Animal can remain on campus pending the final appeal determination, unless the university has determined that the Assistance Animal is a threat to others.

IV. Conflicting Health Conditions Related to Approved Animals (Service Animals and Assistance Animals)

Residence life staff will make a reasonable effort to notify resident students in the residence building where the Approved Animal will be located.

Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g. respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact disability services if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an Approved Animal. The university is prepared to reasonably accommodate individuals with such medical conditions that require accommodation as a result of the Approved Animals.

All conflicts should be referred to disability services which will attempt to resolve them in a timely manner. Disability services will consider the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all persons involved, and develop a resolution.

V. Owner’s Responsibilities with Regard to Approved Animal (Service Animals and Assistance Animals) in University Housing

  1. The Owner is responsible for ensuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for individuals who reside therein.
  2. The Owner is responsible for the condition of his/her room, as outlined in the Residence Hall Policies and Procedures in the Salem State University Guide to Living on Campus and the Residence Life License Agreement.
  3. The Owner is responsible for the cleanliness of his/her room, as outlined in the Residence Hall Policies and Procedures in the Salem State University Guide to Living on Campus and the Residence Life License Agreement.
  4. The Owner’s residence may be inspected for health, safety, or any other reason on a periodic basis. See the Residence Hall Policies and Procedures in the Salem State University Guide to Living on Campus and the Residence Life License Agreement.
  5. The Owner must notify Disability Services in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed or is no longer in residence. If the Owner wishes to bring a new animal to campus, he/she must follow the procedures set forth in Section II(A) or III(A), as appropriate.
  6. The university may use pesticides, cleaning supplies, and other materials for the operation and maintenance of University housing. The university is not responsible for any resulting harm to Approved Animals.
  7. All roommates or suitemates of the Owner must sign the Roommate/Suitemate Acknowledgement Form. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates do not agree to live with an Approved Animal, such non-approving roommates or suitemates may be moved to a different location.
  8. Service Animals may travel freely with their Owner throughout university housing and other areas of the university.
  9. Approved Animals may not be left overnight in university housing to be cared for by another individual. Approved Animals must be taken with the Owner if s/he leaves campus overnight or for a prolonged period.
  10. The university has the ability to relocate the Owner and the Approved Animal as necessary according to current housing and other relevant agreements.
  11. The Owner agrees to continue to abide by the Residence Hall Policies in the Salem State University Guide to Living on Campus and the Residence Life License Agreement. An allowance of an Approved Animal that might constitute an exception to a policy that otherwise would prohibit having an animal does not constitute an exception to any other policy.
  12. Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the Residence Hall License Agreement. Note that under certain circumstances, the Owner may petition for release from the Residence Hall License Agreement. See Request for Cancellation.
  13. The Owner will comply with animal health and well-being requirements as set forth in Sections II(B) and III(B) above.
  14. Any violation of the above rules and responsibilities may result in the immediate removal of the animal from the university. Such decision will be reviewed by disability services, and the Owner will be afforded the rights of appeal outlined in this policy. 
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