Service Animals on College Property

Northeast Iowa Community College prohibits discrimination in educational programs, employment, and activities on the basis of age, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability as required by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Titles VI and VII; the 1972 Education Amendments, Title IX; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1975 (ADEA); the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, Title II; Titles I and V; the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 and the Iowa Code, Chapter 216.

The College requires students who use service animals to contact the Disability Services Coordinator to register as a student with a disability. Higher education institutions may not require any documentation about the training or certification of a service animal. The College requires proof that a service animal has any vaccinations required by state or local laws that apply to all animals. Service animal accommodation requests made by students will be reviewed and assessed by the Office of Disability Services (ODS) for consistency with applicable laws and policies. The College reserves the right to make special modifications, within the confines of applicable law, to policies to reasonably accommodate the person requesting the accommodation. Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA.

Under Title II and III of the ADA, service animals are limited to dogs. However, entities must make reasonable modifications in policies to allow individuals with disabilities to use miniature horses if they have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. The College may also assess the type, size, and weight of a miniature horse in determining whether or not the horse will be allowed access to the premises.

Emotional Support Animals on College Property

Emotional support animals are not permitted on any College property, including, but not limited to classrooms, dining facilities, recreational buildings, employment areas, libraries and research laboratories.

Service Animals on College Property

Service animals are generally permitted to accompany people with disabilities on all College properties where students, faculty, staff, and visitors are allowed, in buildings/facilities. A service animals access to certain areas on College property may need to be limited should the service animal’s presence create an undue hardship to the College. Service animals must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash, or other tether unless the person is unable to hold those, or such use would interfere with the service animal's performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the service animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or other effective means. Individuals must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.

Students needing a service animal are encouraged to work with the ODS prior to bringing the service animal to campus to ensure reasonable accommodations are appropriately provided to the student. The service animal handler can best provide recommendations for faculty, staff, and students on procedures to interact with service animals. The ODS can assist with this communication, if requested.

Faculty and staff (or applicants for employment positions) needing a service animal are encouraged to contact the Human Resources Office prior to bringing the service animal to campus to ensure the accommodation request process is followed and reasonable accommodations are appropriately provided to the employee or applicant.

Exceptions and Exclusions to General Rules Applying to Service Animals on Campus

The College may impose some restrictions on, and may even exclude or ban, a service animal in certain instances. Restrictions or exclusions will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable laws. Access to College property may be restricted or revoked under the following circumstances.

Service Animal Creates a Direct Threat:

The service animal may be denied access to or banned from campus if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by reasonable modifications. An example of this would be a service animal that exhibits aggression or has injured a person or another animal. In considering whether an assistance animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, the College will make an individualized assessment based on reasonable judgment, current medical knowledge, or the best available objective evidence to determine 1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; 2) the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and 3) whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.

Service Animal is Uncontrolled:

A service animal may have its access to College property restricted or revoked if the assistance animal is out of control and the owner does not take effective action to gain and maintain control. An example of this may be an assistance animal that repeatedly gets loose and runs at large, even if it does not physically injure a person or other assistance animal.

Property Damage or Injury Caused by Service Animal:

The owner of a service animal is responsible for any damage to College or personal property and any injuries to individuals caused by their animal.

Improper/Inadequate Care for Service Animal:

Failure to properly care for a service animal may result in the animal’s access to College property being restricted or revoked. Additionally, if it appears that anyone has abused or neglected a service animal, the College may report the animal abuse or neglect to the appropriate authorities.

Service Animal is Not Housebroken or Maintained in a Healthy, Clean Manner:

Any individual utilizing a service animal on campus must ensure the animal is properly housebroken and/or trained. They must also ensure that the animal, and its environment, are maintained in a healthy, clean manner.

Service Animal Fundamentally Alters the Nature of an Educational Program:

Students may be denied the accommodation of a service animal in an academic setting if the animal’s presence fundamentally alters the nature of the educational program. An example of this may be a lab course that requires a sterile/clean working environment and the service animal’s presence would compromise the sanitation/operational standards for the lab. Another example may be a lab course involving the use of lab animals and the service animal’s presence will be disruptive to the lab animals. Clarifying note: This exception applies only to service animals, since emotional support animals are generally not permitted to accompany students to class (or to on-campus jobs).

Public Facilities and Accommodations

Titles II and III of the ADA makes it clear that service animals are allowed in public facilities and accommodations. A service animal must be allowed to accompany the handler to any place in the building or facility where members of the public, program participants, customers, or clients are allowed. Even if the business or public program has a “no pets” policy, it may not deny entry to a person with a service animal. Service animals are not pets. So, although a “no pets” policy is perfectly legal, it does not allow a business to exclude service animals.

When a person with a service animal enters a public facility or place of public accommodation, the person cannot be asked about the nature or extent of his disability. Only two questions may be asked:

  1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

These questions should not be asked, however, if the animal’s service tasks are obvious. For example, the questions may not be asked if the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person’s wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability.

A public accommodation or facility is not allowed to ask for documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Local laws that prohibit specific breeds of dogs do not apply to service animals.

A place of public accommodation or public entity may not ask an individual with a disability to pay a surcharge, even if people accompanied by pets are required to pay fees. Entities cannot require anything of people with service animals that they do not require of individuals in general, with or without pets. If a public accommodation normally charges individuals for the damage they cause, an individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal.

Housing

The College does not offer college-owned housing, therefore is not subject to the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects a person with a disability from discrimination in obtaining housing. Under this law, a landlord or homeowner’s association must provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities so that they have an equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling. Emotional support animals that do not qualify as service animals under the ADA may nevertheless qualify as reasonable accommodations under the FHA. In cases when a person with a disability uses a service animal or an emotional support animal, a reasonable accommodation may include waiving a no-pet rule or a pet deposit. This animal is not considered a pet.

Complaints

Northeast Iowa Community College - ADA/504/EEOC Contacts

Student Complaints
Kelly McMahon
Executive Director for Risk Management
Peosta Campus, 236A
800.728.7367, ext. 477
mcmahonke@nicc.edu

Employees Complaints
Connie Kuennen
Executive Director of Human Resources
Calmar Campus, Administration, 108
800.728.2256, ext. 300
kuennenc@nicc.edu

Complaints may be reported online. Report a complaint.

Title II of the ADA and Section 504 Complaints - The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education enforces Title II of the ADA and Section 504 as they apply to education. Those who have had access denied due to a service animal may file a complaint with OCR or file a private lawsuit in federal court. An OCR complaint must be filed within 180 calendar days of the date of the alleged discrimination, unless the time for filing is extended for good cause. Before filing an OCR complaint against an institution, an individual may want to find out about the institution’s grievance process and use that process to have the complaint resolved. However, an individual is not required by law to use the institutional grievance process before filing a complaint with OCR. If someone uses an institutional grievance process and then chooses to file the complaint with OCR, the complaint must be filed with OCR within 60 days after the last act of the institutional grievance process.

For more information contact:

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service: 800.421.3481 (voice)
800.877.8339 (TTY)
E-mail: ocr@ed.gov