Service Animal Procedures

Service Animal Policies

Implemented: 1 December 2003
Revised: 26 June 2007, 6 April 2009, 1 February 2011, June 2012

I. Introduction

Portland Community College Board Policy B408 addresses the college’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), as well as the Oregon Revised Statutes.

These procedures serve to operationalize that policy in regard to ensuring that students, employees, and guests with disabilities who rely on service animals can participate in and benefit from PCC services, programs, and activities, and to ensure that PCC does not discriminate on the basis of disability as identified in Titles I and II of the ADA, Section 504, and state antidiscrimination laws (ORS 659A.100 -659A.127 and 346.610-346687).

These procedures are supported by the college’s Risk Services Policy regarding animals on PCC premises (Section 11.A).

II. Primary College Contacts

  1. Students may contact Disability Services for information or guidance.
  2. Employees may request to have a service animal as a workplace accommodation through the college’s ADA Coordinator in Human Resources.
  3. Guests may be accompanied by a service animal when participating in programs and accessing services without requesting an accommodation, but are welcome to contact the college’s ADA Coordinator for information or guidance.

Disability Services full contact information is available at www.pcc.edu/disability

ADA Coordinator information is available at www.pcc.edu/hr

III. Definitions

  1. Service Animal

A service animal is any dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability.   Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purpose of the definition.  The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.  Tasks may include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving dropped items.

The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence or the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.  Dogs and that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability and  any animal that is used purely for emotional support, comfort, or companionship are not considered service animals and are not allowed on the PCC premises.  

In accordance with applicable laws and on a case-by-case basis, at the request of a qualified disabled person PCC may make an exception for a miniature horse or another assistance animal that does not meet the ADA definition of a service animal.  For information about exceptions, please speak to one of the contacts listed above.

  1. Psychiatric Service Animal

This term is sometimes used for a dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with an unobservable disability, such as a sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.   As an example, a disabled veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related to combat experience might use a service dog that is trained to go into the room, sniff for explosives then come back and signal that the room is clear, so that he or she is able to enter the room.

  1. Trainee

A dog guide trainee for blind persons, hearing ear dog trainee, or other animal undergoing training to assist a person with a physical impairment will be granted the same rights as fully-trained service animals.

Oregon Revised Statute (Education & Culture Code § 346.610 through 346.680)

  1. Therapy Animal

A therapy animal is an animal used within a therapeutic relationship whose function is to provide comfort, companionship, and/or a feeling of well-being.   Animals whose sole function is to provide a therapeutic effect by being present are not service animals and are not generally allowed on campus, though they may be requested as an accommodation in housing.  

  1. Comfort Animal or Emotional Support Animal

An emotional support or comfort animal may well provide a benefit to the individual, but in a general manner that is not protected by law.  Note that a service animal is different because it is has been specifically trained to recognize a condition, behavior or situation and is also trained to respond or perform specific tasks that aid the disabled person.

IV. General Rule Regarding Service Animals

As a general rule, The College will modify policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.

V. Restrictions and Exclusions

PCC may impose some restrictions or remove from campus a service animal that is out-of-control, not housebroken, poses a direct threat to health and safety of others, or whose presence fundamentally alters a program, service, or activity.   Restrictions or removals are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable laws.  

In determining whether a service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, PCC will  make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain:  the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.

In those circumstances where a service animal is believed to fundamentally alter a service, program, or activity, PCC has the burden of proving that a fundamental alteration would occur. The decision that allowing the service animal would result in a fundamental alteration must be made by the head of PCC or his or her designee, for example, the ADA Coordinator or Director of Disability Services. The disabled individual must be provided with a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If allowing the service animal would result in a fundamental alteration, PCC shall take other actions to nevertheless ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by PCC.

In the event restriction or removal of a service animal is determined to be necessary, PCC will take other actions to ensure that the disabled individual will still be offered the opportunity to participate in services, programs and activities without having the service animal present.

Questions about restrictions on service animals should be directed to the contacts in Section II.

VI. Responsibilities of Individuals Using Service Animals

An individual with a service animal is responsible for the following:

  1. Ensure that the animal is under control control of its handler  by means of a harness, on a leash or tether in most cases.   In instances where a person’s disability or the service animal’s performance of work or tasks precludes use of a harness, leash or tether, the service animal must still otherwise be under control (e.g. by voice control, signals, or other effective means).  If an animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it,  the matter will be addressed individually by Campus Public Safety.
  2. Be responsible for the care and supervision of the service animal .
  3.  Assure that service animals are housebroken (i.e., trained so that, absent illness or accident, the animal controls its waste elimination).  Individuals with physical disabilities who cannot  pick up and dispose of the animal’s waste should work with campus contacts to identify appropriate service animal toileting areas.
  4. Comply with PCC’s policies, rules or procedures,.

PCC may exclude a service animal from some or all parts of its property if the service animal (1) is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; (2) is not housebroken; (3) fundamentally alters the nature of PCC’s programs, services, or activities; or (4) poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

VII. Requirements for Faculty, Staff and Students

Members of the PCC community are responsible for the following:

  1. Allowing service animals to accompany the person they are assisting in all areas of campus where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
  2. Not distracting a service animal in any way. Do not pet, feed, or interact with the animal without the handler’s permission.
  3. Not separating a disabled person from  his or her service animal.
  4. Clarifying an animal’s status as a service animal only when it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal.  In such  cases, designated staff (i.e., Campus Public Safety officers, program managers, or designee) may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, but may make two inquires to establish whether the animal is a service animal:
    1. Is the animal required because of a disability? and
    2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform?

Other questions regarding the status of a service animal should be referred to the contacts noted in Section II.  PCC may take disciplinary action against any individual who fails to abide by these guidelines.

VIII. Protocol for Exclusion of Service Animals

A community member may report a concern regarding a service animal to Campus Public Safety.

  1. In response to an immediate concern, Campus Public Safety may determine that a service animal must be removed from campus on a temporary basis. The officer will notify the person who experiences disability of this decision and the incident will be turned over to the points of contact indicated in Section II.
  2. The designated point of contact will investigate all reported concerns and cases where service animals have been temporarily removed from campus and will consult with appropriate college personnel to determine whether or not the animal should be excluded from campus on a permanent basis.
  3. If it is appropriate for the animal to be excluded from campus permanently, the appropriate point of contact will work to ensure the individual receives appropriate accommodations in place of the use of a service animal.
  4. An individual who does not agree with the resolution may file a complaint or grievance. Guidance on this process can be provided through the contacts listed in Section II.

IX. Conflicting Disabilities

Individuals with medical issues that may be impacted by the presence of service animals should communicate with the points of contact noted in Section II if they have a concern about exposure to a service animal.  The individual will be asked to provide documentation that identifies a disability and the need for an accommodation.  The appropriate PCC point of contact will facilitate a process to resolve the conflict that considers the disability-related needs/accommodations of all persons involved.

X. Emergency Situations

Emergency Responders (ERs) are trained to recognize service animals and to be aware that animals may try to communicate the need for help or that , an animal may become disoriented in an emergency situation. ERs should make every effort to keep a service animal with the disabled person it is tasked with assisting.  However, the ER’s first effort should be toward the disabled person, which may result in the service animal being left behind in some emergency evacuation situations.