Service Animal Policy

USF prohibits bringing a pet (a domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship) to work or having a pet in USF controlled buildings and premises, with the exception of service animals providing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodations for a person with disabilities. As established by the ADA, service animals may not be excluded from University facilities or activities, except as provided below. The ADA defines a service animal as:

"...any . . . animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."

Under the ADA, service animals are limited to dogs and miniature horses that meet specific criteria. A service animal must be specifically trained to perform a service function to work on campus for the benefit of an individual with a disability. If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program. Companion or therapy animals are not considered service animals. Employees who wish to bring a companion or therapy animal to work must follow the reasonable accommodation request process as outlined in the Accommodations section of the Handbook. Service animals whose behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or is disruptive to the campus community may be excluded regardless of training or certification.


Persons with Disabilities Using Service Animals on Campus

University visitors and employees (including those who reside in University Housing) who utilize a service animal must contact Human Resources’ Leave Manager at to complete the appropriate ADA accommodation documents. The service animal's owner/partner is at all times solely responsible for the cost of care, arrangements, any responsibilities connected to the well-being of a service animal, and any property damage caused by the service animal. Employees with off-campus internships, clinical labs, service-learning opportunities, or other University-related activities must abide by the service animal policy at the off-campus entity.

Requirements of service animals and their owners/partners on campus include:

  • Animals must meet all public place requirements as mandated by state or local ordinances, including:
    • All animals need to be immunized against rabies and other diseases common to that type of animal
    • All vaccinations must be current o Animals must wear a rabies vaccination tag o All animals must be licensed per state law
    • Service animals must wear an owner identification tag (which includes the name and phone number of the owner) at all times
    • The owner/partner must follow local ordinances in cleaning up after the animal defecates; Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animal are not required to pick up and dispose of feces 
  • Animals must be in good health
  • Animals must be on a leash, harness, or another type of restraint at all times unless the owner/partner is unable to retain an animal on leash due to a disability
  • The owner/partner must be in full control of the animal at all times; the care and supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of the owner/partner
  • The owner/partner must provide Human Resources with information as to what tasks the animal is trained to perform to assist the individual with a disability

The removal of service animals may be requested in certain situations, including if a service animal:

  • Is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, bringing attention to itself)
  • Threatens the health or safety of another individual
  • Displays signs of illness
  • Is unclean, malodorous, and/or bedraggled

If improper behavior happens repeatedly or if owners/partners are non-compliant with requirements, they may be told not to bring the service animal into any facility until they take significant steps to mitigate violations.

Community Responsibilities

In an effort to provide a respectful and equitable environment for employees with service animals, fellow employees and others on campus should comply with the following:

  • Allow a service animal to accompany the disabled owner/partner at all times and everywhere on campus except, where service animals are specifically prohibited
  • Do not pet a service animal; petting a service animal when the animal is working distracts the animal from the task at hand
  • Do not feed a service animal; the service animal may have specific dietary requirements
  • Unusual food or food at an unexpected time may cause the animal to become ill or to be distracted
  • Do not deliberately startle a service animal
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate an owner/partner from their service animal

Areas Off-Limits to Service Animals

To ensure safety, there may be areas on the campus that are off-limits to service animals to ensure safety. Areas such as research laboratories, mechanical rooms, custodial closets, and areas that require protective clothing may be restricted. Final decisions regarding restricted areas will be made based on the nature of research or machinery and in the best interest of the animal. Exceptions to determinations may be made by the dean or their designee. The natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the outcome of the research. At the same time, the chemicals and/or organisms used in the research may be harmful to service animals.


Employees who are dissatisfied with a decision made concerning a service animal should follow the complaint procedures outlined in the Anti-Harassment Policy.