Policy Steward: Vice President for Administration


  • Purpose
  • Scope
  • Policy
  • Definition
  • When Service Animals May Be Removed or Prohibited In a Facility or Program
  • Requests for Accomodations
  • Students
  • Employees
  • Visitors
  • Requirements for Service Animals
  • Other Resources
  • Cross References


    To establish guidelines for the proper use of service animals at University facilities.


    This policy applies to all facilities owned, leased and/or under the control of The Pennsylvania State University excluding Hershey Medical Center, the College of Medicine, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. 


    It is the policy of the University that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs, except as described below.


    “Service animal” is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA), as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal 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. (28 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 36, Subpart A – General, 36.104 Definitions).

    If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA, regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.


    A service animal may be removed from a Penn State facility or program if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, a service animal that displays vicious behavior towards people may be excluded. Excessive barking in a classroom or during a program is an example of disruption.

    Service animals may also be excluded in areas where the presence of a service animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity, or is disruptive. Examples may include, but are not limited to: research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, food preparation areas, and animal research labs.

    Questions related to the use of service animals on campus should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at 814-863-0471.



    Student requests for disability accommodations, including requests to have a service animal accompany a student on campus, in classrooms and in Penn State housing facilities, are determined by the Office for Disability Services (ODS), through the reasonable accommodation request and review process. Students can reach the Office of Disability Services at 814-863-0471, or visit the ODS Website.


    Employee requests for reasonable accommodations, including requests to have a service animal at work, are handled through the ADA Coordinator within the Affirmative Action Office. Employees can view policy HR09, Reasonable Accommodations for University Employees, and may contact the Affirmative Action Office at 814-863-0471 voice and relay for information and assistance.


    Service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public (except in situations determined to apply as stated in "When Service Animals May Be Removed or Prohibited," above). Specific questions related to the use of service animals on the Penn State campus by visitors can be directed to the ADA Coordinator via e-mail at AAO@psu.edu or by phone at 814-863-0471 voice and relay.


    Service animals must comply with all applicable Pennsylvania dog laws. Information related to licensing, ID tags, vaccinations, rabies and other requirements under Pennsylvania Dog Law can be found at:  http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stuspa3ps459_502.htm

    Leash: Dogs and must be on a leash at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to owner/keeper’s disability.

    Under Control: The owner/keeper of a service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of owner/keeper.

    Cleanup Rule: The owner/keeper of a service animal must ensure cleaning up of any Penn State property the animal might soil.

    Health: Animals to be housed in University Housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.

    Service Dogs in Training: Under Pennsylvania law, individuals with disabilities who use guide or support animals, or trainers of such animals, are entitled to equal opportunity in all aspects of employment and education, as well as equal access to and treatment in all public accommodations, and any housing accommodation or commercial property without discrimination. Violation of this law may result in an award of damages or other remedies pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. 43 P.S. § 953.


    U.S. Department of Justice, Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act

    Pennsylvania dog law citations:

    Citation: PA ST 3 P.S. § 459-101 - 1205; PA ST 3 P.S. § 501, 531 - 532, 550 - 551; PA ST 34 Pa.C.S.A. § 2381 - 2386

    Citation: 3 P.S. § 459-101 - 1205; 3 P.S. § 501, 531 - 532, 550 - 551; 34 Pa.C.S.A. § 2381 - 2386

    Guidance on Service Animals in Public Places


    Access and Disability Issues

    HR09 - Reasonable Accommodation for University Employees

    SY07 - Governing Control of Animals on University Property

    Effective Date: March 31, 2010
    Date Approved: March 29, 2010
    Date Published: March 30, 2010

    Revision History (and effective dates):

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