Service Animal and Emotional Support Animal Policy

Policy Number: #200

Responsible Executive(s):

  • Provost

Responsible Office(s):

  • Office of Student Disability Services

Date Adopted: 07-01-2019

Date Revised: 06-22-2021


Regis University (RU) is committed to making reasonable accommodations to its rules, policies, and practices when necessary to afford individuals with disabilities and equal opportunity to access its programs, services, and activities.


 A “pet” is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. Assistance animals, such as Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals, as defined below, are not considered pets. Pets are prohibited on the RU campus, except in residence housing, where fish are sometimes permitted as pets. For more information on fish in University Housing, please refer to the RU Student Handbook.


A “Service Animal” means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental health disability. The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the person’s disability.

The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purpose of this definition. Species other than dogs or, in some limited cases, miniature horses, are not considered Service Animals for the purpose of this definition of a Service Animal.

Service Animals are permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of RU’s facilities where students, members of the public, and other participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. RU does not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal. Additionally, RU cannot ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability to whether a person’s animal qualifies as a Service Animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that a dog is a Service Animal, RU staff may make two inquiries to determine whether the dog qualifies as a Service Animal, which are:

  •   Is the dog required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

An “Emotional Support Animal,” is an animal that provides emotional support that eases one or more identified symptoms of a person’s disability(s). Unlike Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals are not trained to perform work or tasks, and they may include species other than dogs and miniature horses.

Emotional Support Animals are not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities outside of the Residence Halls/Student Housing to other university buildings and must abide by the RU Pet Policy when they are taken outside the student’s living space. Emotional Support Animals may reside in University Housing with people with disabilities. Before an Emotional Support Animal can move into University Housing with a person with a disability, a request must be submitted to Student Disability Services & University Testing. This request must be approved prior to the Emotional Support Animal moving into University Housing. 

  1. If the disability is not obvious, Student Disability Services & University Testing may request documentation from a qualified licensed physician or mental health provider, that opines: That the individual is under his or her treatment and the individual qualifies as a person with a disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities); and
  2. That the Emotional Support Animal will provide some type of disability related

 RU is not responsible for the care or supervision of Assistance Animals. People with disabilities are responsible for the cost, care, and supervision of their own Assistance Animals, including:

  1. The Owner must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the Owner’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and The University has the right to require documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include a vaccination certificate. The University reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed.
  2. Keeping the animal under control and taking effective action when it is out of
  3. Feeding, walking the animal, and disposing of its
  4. Paying for any damage caused by the
  5. In the case of students living in residence halls, working with the University to mutually agree on the arrival date of the Assistance Animal and where the student will live with the Assistance

An Assistance Animal must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those, or such use would interfere with the Service Animal's performance, work, or tasks. In such instances, the Assistance Animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or other effective means. RU will assess requests for the use of miniature horses by people with disabilities on a case‐by‐case-basis for students through Student Disability Services & University Testing. Faculty and staff requests may be made to Human Resources.

For specific areas on campus for animal toileting and waste disposal, contact Residence Life & Housing. Disposing of animal waste via university plumbing is prohibited in university residences. RU will not require any deposits or surcharges for Assistance Animals. People with disabilities who are accompanied by an Assistance Animal must comply with the same university rules regarding noise, safety, disruption, and cleanliness as people without disabilities.


RU may pose some restrictions on, and may even exclude an Assistance Animal in certain instances. Restrictions or exclusions will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable laws, but an animal may be excluded if:

  1. It’s behavior is out of control or disruptive and effective action is not taken to control it (including but not limited to barking);
  2. It is not housebroken;
  3. It poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by reasonable modifications; or
  4. Its presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program, service or
  5. The owner does not meet the owner responsibilities articulated
  6. It is brought to campus before the approved arrival

In the event that restriction or removal of an Assistance Animal is determined to be necessary, the person with a disability will still be given the opportunity to participate in the service, program, and activity without having the Assistance Animal present.

Alternatively, consistent with applicable laws, RU may elect to make modifications in its policies to permit the use of Service Animals if they meet certain criteria and have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of people with disabilities.


To ensure equal access and nondiscrimination of people with disabilities, members of the RU Community must abide by the following practices:

  1. Allow Service Animals to accompany people with disabilities on campus where hygiene is not an issue (e.g. clinical rotations; food services.)
  2. Allow Emotional Support Animals to live in residence halls after approval has been granted;
  3. Do not ask for details about a person's disabilities;
  4. Do not pet an Assistance Animal, as it distracts the animal from its work;
  5. Do not feed an Assistance Animal;
  6. Do not deliberately startle, tease, or taunt a Assistance Animal; and
  7. Do not separate or attempt to separate a person from his/her Assistance Animal.

If you have a disability that may be affected by the presence of animals, please contact Student Disability Services & University Testing. RU is committed to ensuring that the needs of all people with disabilities are met and will determine how to resolve any conflicts or problems as expeditiously as possible.

In considering whether an animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, RU will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment, current medical knowledge, and/or the best available objective evidence, to determine:

  1. The nature, duration, and severity of the risk;
  2. The probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and
  3. Whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, procedures or auxiliary aids will mitigate the risk.

The Dean of Students shall provide a written statement of explanation to any person with a disability if a determination is made that the presence of that person’s Assistance Animal would fundamentally alter the nature of a program, service, or activity.


Appeals related to disability accommodations are governed by the procedure available for these claims with Student Disability Services & Testing and can be found at

Complaints of disability discrimination or harassment, other than those concerning a request for accommodation, should be made to:

Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator West Hall, 107 E

(303) 964-6435

The complete procedure for filing a complaint of disability discrimination or harassment is available at

Contact information for Students:

To request the use of an Assistance Animal on campus, in campus buildings and/or in campus housing:

Student Disability Services & University Testing David Clarke Hall, 241


To report an animal in campus housing that is disruptive, out of control, or poses a threat to safety:

Student Housing Department O'Connell Hall Lower Level (303) 458-4991

To report an animal on university grounds or in university buildings (other than in the Residence Halls or other student housing) that is disruptive, out of control, or poses a threat to safety:

Campus Safety Office Regis Square Suite 28 5115 Federal Boulevard


Contact information for Faculty and Staff:

To request the use of an Assistance Animal on campus:

Human Resources West Hall, 107


Campus Safety Office Regis Square Suite 28 5115 Federal Boulevard