Service Animals

General Expectations of Service Animals

Service animals must be calm and under control at all times while on campus, including classrooms, common spaces and outdoor areas.

The following animal behaviours are disruptive and not acceptable on campus:

  • growling
  • barking
  • whining
  • pacing
  • greeting other people energetically or anxiously
  • interacting with other service animals in a threatening or boisterous way

Service animals must be on a leash or restrained by other appropriate means at all times. There are no public areas of the campus where service animals are permitted to roam freely. 

Owners must clean-up after their animal and dispose of waste in the appropriate receptacle, no exceptions.

Damage: If a service animal damages property, the owner will be entirely responsible for the cost of repair or replacement.  

Disruption: If a service animal causes disruption to the campus community, it will be regarded as if the owner had directly engaged in the behaviour themselves. Owners are responsible for avoiding and/or remedying any disruptions caused by a service animal.  

If a person who does not require the service animal for disability-related reasons takes control of the animal, then it ceases to be considered a service animal for the purposes of accessing campus facilities until it is returned to its regular owner.

If the University has to intervene to remove a service animal that is out of control, the cost of removal will fall to the owner.

The well-trained service animal

If you are bringing a service animal to campus, it is in your best interest to ensure that your service animal has been trained by a reputable organization. Having a poorly trained animal can cause more distress than being without a service animal.

Reputable training programs usually include a component that trains the owner of the service animal. This will help you respond to tricky or unexpected situations you and your service animal might encounter on campus.

Some situations your service animal may encounter on campus:

  • strangers
  • loud noises
  • crowds
  • unusual smells
  • silent, still exam situations

Some members of the campus community may directly challenge the owner of an animal that is behaving poorly. Students with mental health difficulties in particular might find this kind of attention aggravates their condition rather than relieving it. Be sure your service animal is properly trained.

Animal Well-being

Service animals must be fully vaccinated and treated for fleas and ticks where appropriate. It's advisable to provide emergency contact information for the service animal in case the regular handler becomes incapacitated.

Implications for Other Service Animals

A dog that is not thoroughly trained can undermine the training of specialized service animals, sometimes after only one point of contact.

Some of the service animals in the community have received training that costs upwards of $40,000. This is because they perform highly specialized disability-related functions. A student (or their animal) who damages the training to such a specialized service animal may be putting another person in danger, and would be responsible for the cost of replacing the animal if it has to be retired.

Documentation for Service Animals

All service animals must be registered with SAS. Students should fill out a Service Animal Recommendation form. 

Service Animals Legislation

Service animals at the University of Guelph are governed by AODA Service Animals legislation.