Jefferson University does not discriminate on the basis of disability. Jefferson University strives to maintain all local, state and federal standards in regards to individuals with disabilities. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Jefferson University accommodates persons with disabilities requiring the assistance of a qualified service or therapy animal. Students must make their request for either a service animal or therapy animal at least 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which the request is made. All determinations will be made on an individual basis, and in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations, as to whether the specific animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus. Documentation and information from the individual will be required in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.
Definition: Service Animal
The ADA defines a service animal as a dog individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability and meets the definition of “service animal” under the ADA. Other species of animals, whether trained or untrained, are not considered services animals (with rare exceptions). The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting during a seizure, alerting to the presence of allergens, and preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
Responsibilities of the Student with the Service Animal: The service animal must be under the control of its handler. A harness, leash, or other tether must be used unless the handler is unable because of the disability, to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or if the use of a harness, leash, or other tether interferes with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of the work or task. In such cases, the service animal must remain under the student’s control, such as voice control.
The student must provide total care and supervision of the service animal. The University is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision. The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose all animal waste, immediately. The animal must not be placed in a location blocking access for others. It is the handler's responsibility to ensure that the service animal is in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks, and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations.
Jefferson University may ask a student with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the student does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken.
Documentation and Inquiries regarding Service Animals: The University is permitted to make the following inquiries to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:
- Is the animal required because of a disability?
- What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform?
When it is not readily apparent the individual has a disability or an animal is a service animal, the University may require the student to submit documentation from the treating health care provider with the following information in order to make a determination:
- the individual has a disability for which the animal is necessary
- how the animal assists the person, including whether the animal has undergone any training
- the relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides
Definition: Therapy/Emotional Support Animal
While service animals are recognized under the Rehabilitation Act and ADA, the FHA (Fair Housing Act) provides for a broader range of therapy or emotional support animals in campus housing. A "therapy" or “emotional support” animal is an animal whose role is to provide companionship, affection, security, calming influence, emotional support, or otherwise function as part of a regimen of psychological treatment. Federal law does not give therapy animals’ access to the campus as a whole. While a college or university may be required to reasonably accommodate a therapy animal in a residence hall or campus apartment, the institution is not required to allow that student to bring the animal to other areas or buildings on campus. A therapy animal does not have access to common space within residence halls. The animal only has access to the specific sleeping area of the owner. The specific therapy animal must be in accordance with allowed animals under Pennsylvania Law, regarding dangerous and exotic animals. Therapy animals must not be identified as a breed that is aggressive or dangerous, and whose behavior is not good around other people, strangers or crowds.
Documentation and Inquiries for Therapy Animals: Students requesting a therapy animal as a reasonable accommodation under FHA must submit documentation from their licensed health care provider. Determination is made on an individual basis. The documentation must contain the following information, from a licensed provider:
- the specific disability of the individual;
- the reason(s) the animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling and the assistance the animal provides; and
- that there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.
Responsibilities of the Student with the Therapy Animal: The student is responsible for the care and supervision of the therapy animal. The University is not responsible for the animal’s care or supervision. The student is responsible to clean up after and properly dispose of their animal's waste, while on campus. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure the animal is an animal in good health, clean, free of fleas and ticks, and is at all times in compliance with all Pennsylvania State laws and requirements associated with licensing, vaccinations, and other health regulations.
Students may apply for an ESA at any time; however, ESA approvals will only be made at certain times during the year. ESA requests must be made within 4 weeks of the beginning of the semester. An ESA will not be approved during the middle of the semester, for the current semester, due to the disruption that an ESA may cause. Any ESA request after 4 weeks prior to the beginning of the semester, may proceed (at the discretion of Student Affairs) on an individual basis, pursuant to guidelines set forth by Accessibility Services.
All ESA animals must be fully trained and the owner must have lived with the ESA for a reasonable period of time, prior to residing on campus. A reasonable period of time is the amount of time that an animal needs to be comfortable around its surroundings/owner and is fully trained (including hygiene and commands).
ESA owners are fully responsible for all actions of the animal, regardless of actions by others (petting, feeding…). It is recommended that the owner prohibit all physical interaction with other individuals, unless they feel that the animal is safe.
Owner Responsibilities: All students must sign an ESA agreement that explains in greater detail, owner responsibilities. (All granted requests may be revoked if a student with a support animal does not follow the standards of behavior listed below.)
- The owner is responsible for assuring that the approved animal does not interfere with the routine activities of the residence.
- The owner is financially responsible for the actions of the approved animal, including bodily injury or property damage. The owner will cover the costs associated with property damage.
- The owner is financially responsible for actions of the ESA towards a roommates property. The roommate(s) is not responsible for the actions of the animal, under any circumstance.
- The owner’s residence may be inspected for fleas, and/or other pests in accordance with residence life policy. In addition, the owner’s residence may be inspected for fleas, and/or other pests on an as needed basis, if concerns arise. The owner will be billed for any pest treatment above standard pest management.
- Support animals must remain in the student’s residential sleeping area at all times and are not permitted to be in any common space, including, but not limited to living and cooking areas.
- When “out for normal care” the animal must remain on a leash or harness. Animals are not permitted on University property other than the residence hall. Cleanup of all animal waste must be done immediately, and with proper disposal practices.
- Owners are responsible for daily care and food. Daily care is not permitted by roommates, friends…. for any reason.
- Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others by barking continuously, growling, scratching, etc.
- Residents in the possession of therapy animals must take the proper precautions to ensure that other residents and Residence Life staff are not harmed from the animal. Any animal that threatens or injures another person on campus will be subject to immediate removal. (The owner of an animal who injures another person on campus is liable for the actions of the animal. Jefferson University’s Office of Residence Life bears no responsibility in this liability.) In certain instances, authorities will be contacted.
- The owner must keep a sign on the door that notifies others that an animal resides in the room and that individuals entering must use caution.
- Animals must be taken with the student if they leave for overnight. There are no exceptions to this rule. No animal may be left with another on-campus resident, regardless if they have also received approval for an assistance animal. All therapy animal requests apply only to the animal for which a student has been approved.
- The animal must be “crated” when the owner is not in the room. Dimensions of the crate must be no greater than 38” length/33” width/24” height. The crate must fit under a lofted bed or in an area beside the owner’s bed.
- The owner agrees to continue to abide by all residential policies.
- Any violation of the rules may result in immediate removal of the animal.
- Should the approved animal be removed, the student is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
- The student must provide a person(s) that may be contacted to assist in the immediate removal of an animal, should this be necessary. This individual must be able to get to the University within a few hours, to retrieve the ESA.
The owner must notify Accessibility Services in writing if the approved animal is no longer needed as an approved animal or is no longer in residence. To replace an approved animal, the student must file a new request
Thomas Jefferson University may ask a student with a disability to remove a therapy animal from the premises if the animal is out of control and the student does not take effective action to control it, or if the animal is not housebroken. Jefferson reserves the right to remove the animal immediately, if it deems that the animal is a danger or disruptive. (Students may proceed through the Student Grievance Policy.)
Required Forms: If a request is granted, the student must sign certain forms, regarding the rules and procedures. The student must also provide a copy of all State required immunization records, licenses for animal, a veterinarian report that the animal (if applicable) has been spayed or neutered and a certificate that the animal is health and free from any signs of infection or contagious diseases, parasites, etc…
Grievance Procedures: Students who wish to appeal a denied request for use of a service or therapy animal should refer to the University’s grievance policy.
Removal of Animals
Therapy animals may be removed from the residence halls for the following reasons:
- If an animal is considered a direct and substantial threat to the health and safety of individuals, animal control will be summoned to remove the animal immediately. This may occur as the result of a very ill animal, a substantial lack of cleanliness of the animal, or the presence of an animal in a sensitive area like a mechanical or industrial areas.
- Animals and animal owners who do not follow the standards of behavior are subject to disciplinary action and/or removal of the animal from University Housing.
- Any violation of the student agreement.
Animal Allergic Response
Some students may have an allergic reaction to animals that are substantial enough to qualify as a disability. The University will consider the needs of both persons in meeting its obligations to reasonably accommodate all disabilities and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Students and staff requesting allergy accommodations must contact the Student Accessibility Services.
Staff Etiquette towards Support and Therapy Animals
Faculty, staff, students, visitors, and members of the general public should avoid doing the following:
- Petting an animal when you have not received permission to do so;
- Feeding an animal;
- Deliberately startling an animal; and
- Separating or attempting to separate an owner from their animal.