Access Center

Service/Emotional Support Animal Guidelines

Service Animal Guidelines

The following information is provided to help define the role and the place of animals relative to facilities and residence halls at the Washington State University Pullman campus in promoting disability access.

Under WAC 504-36-020, pets are not allowed on university campuses.  Refer to the legislation here  for exceptions, which includes trained service animals.

Disabled individuals may be accompanied by their service animals on all Washington State University campuses where members of the public or participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. A service animal is defined as any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental conditions. If a dog meets this definition, it is considered a service dog regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program.  If a student plans to live in university housing with a service animal, the animal must be registered with the Access Center.

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's impairment. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting an individual with low vision with navigation
  • Alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects
  • Retrieving items
  • Providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility impairment

Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. The University may, however, ask if the animal is required because of impairment, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Exclusions of service dogs are determined on an individualized basis and when one of the following conditions exist:

  • The dog is disruptive and not effectively controlled.
  • The presence of the service dog would fundamentally change the nature of the classroom, course or activity.
  • The service dog's presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property and/or the health or safety of others. (Service animals are not allowed in animal science labs and have limited access within the College of Veterinary Medicine/Veterinary Hospital).
  • The dog is not housebroken.

When circumstances arise which would justify evaluating the presence of a service dog, the Access Center will employ the following criteria:

  • The student using the service dog is disabled
  • The dog is a service dog
  • The dog is trained to perform certain tasks related to the individuals' impairment

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service dog. Individuals are responsible for:

  • The well-being of a service dog as well as the cost of any damages as a result of the service dog
  • The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste
  • The control of the animal at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from service dogs. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the individual is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation.
  • Harnessing, leashing, or tethering the service dog, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks.
  • Following all requirements for the presence of animals in public places mandated by State or local ordinances (vaccination, license, animal health, leash)
  • Refer to RCW 49.60.218, and RCW 49.60.215 for further information on Washington State laws as they pertain to service animals on campus.

Emotional Support Animals in University Housing 

Federal law (Fair Housing Act) allows individuals with disabilities the presence of emotional support animals in University housing. By law, an emotional support animal means any service animal, as defined above, as well as an animal needed for emotional support. An individual may keep an emotional support animal as an accommodation in University housing if:

  1. The individual is disabled.
  2. The individual has presented documentation to the Access Center that describes the functional limitations of the individual’s disability. (Under the Fair Housing Act, the request for documentation is allowed.) Documentation must be from a licensed medical provider.
  3. The animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
  4. There is an identifiable relationship between the impairment and the assistance the animal provides. This is determined through documentation from a licensed medical provider.

Emotional support animals are not allowed in classrooms or in public places on campus, unless as an approved accommodation, or as trained service animals as defined above.

The Access Center will determine, after meeting with the student and reviewing appropriate documentation, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether the animal requested is a reasonable accommodation in University housing. Residence Life is consulted on a case-by-case basis.

The University may exclude an emotional support animal from University housing if the animal is:

  • Not housebroken,
  • Would cause substantial damage to the property of others,
  • Would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others,
  • Would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity,
  • Is not being cared for by the individual.

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of emotional support animals. Individuals are responsible for the control of their companion animals at all times and for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Individuals must comply with Residence Life rules and regulations as they pertain to animals in WSU Housing, all applicable federal, state and county laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.

Service Animals in Training

All service animals-in-training are approved through the ADA Coordinator’s office.  Call 509-335-8288.

Employment and Animals

Employees are asked to contact HRS regarding animals as an accommodation.  Call 509-335-4521.