Service Dogs & Emotional Support Animals

Service dogs and emotional support animals (sometimes referred to as therapy animals) play an important role in facilitating academic success for students with certain disabilities. There is a difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal (ESA).

A service dog is individually trained to do work or perform a specific task or tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The work, or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Service dogs are allowed in all facilities on campus. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service dogs. Emotional support animals are only allowed in one’s dwelling (residence hall room), and not in any other facilities on campus.

Service Dogs

As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs are permitted to accompany individuals with disabilities in all areas of Castleton University’s facilities, including classrooms. Students with a service animal are required to register their service dog with the Castleton University Coordinator of Disability Services, who is located in the Academic Support Center in Babcock Hall.

 An individual accompanied by a dog who they identify as a service dog, may not be asked about the nature or extent of their disability to determine whether the dog qualifies as a service animal. However, an individual may be asked:

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

A service animal must be housebroken. It must be kept on a leash, harness, or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those items, or if it would interfere with the dog’s task.

Emotional Support (ESA) or therapy animal

An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support or comfort that ameliorates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Unlike service animals, emotional support animals are not trained for a specific task. ESA’s are not allowed to accompany individuals in any classroom or public buildings on campus. They can only be kept in one’s dwelling, (Residence Hall room), as ESA’s are covered by the Fair Housing Act.

Documentation of a disability from a licensed physician, mental health provider, psychiatrist, or other qualified health professional is required for an ESA to be considered by the Coordinator of Disability Services, in order to determine:

  1. That the individual qualifies as a person with a disability
  2. That the support animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to enjoy the residence halls
  3. That there is a direct correlation between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides.