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Service Animals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a Service Animal (SA) as “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. SAs are working animals, not pets. The work or tasks a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.”

A SA can be any breed or size. It might wear specialized equipment such as a backpack, harness, or special collar or leash, but this is not a legal requirement.  If a dog meets this definition, it is considered a SA regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program.

The ADA further states that “dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as SAs under the ADA.”

The ADA allows an SA to accompany persons with disabilities anywhere that is open to the public on Randolph College premises. Premises shall mean any land and/or facility owned, leased, rented and/or occupied by the College. There may be individual exceptions in places where the presence of the SA may compromise safety or a sterile environment and/or interfere with the fundamental nature of the activities being conducted in which the SA would be not permitted.

Voluntary Registration of Service Animals While on Campus

Individuals who are enrolled at the College may register their service animal with the College, by contacting Access Services at (434) 947-8132; registration is not available for visitors to campus or service dogs in training.


The individual’s disability may not be visible. College personnel may only ask the Owner two questions in determining the validity of the presence of the animal: (1) is the dog a SA required because of a disability, and (2) what task is the animal trained to perform.  College personnel may not ask for details about the disability or ask the SA to perform the task.

Requirements of SAs and their Owners

  • The SA cannot pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others while on College property.
  • Local ordinances regarding animals apply to SAs, including requirements for immunization, licensing, noise, restraint, and at-large animals.
  • The Owner must be in full control of the animal at all times. Under the ADA, an SA must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the SA’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the Owner must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
  • The Owner is responsible for cleaning up the animal’s waste and disposing of it in outside receptacles only. Waste disposal via College plumbing is prohibited. Owners who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of the animal’s waste are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance.
  • The SA is not to be bathed or its cage/crate, or bedding cleaned using College housing or facilities.
  • The Owner is liable for damage caused by the animal.
  • The Owner is responsible for instructing others on appropriate interactions with the animal and setting clear expectations.


A SA may be excluded from any authorized area and its Owner may be subject to disciplinary action if, including, but not limited to:

  • The SA displays aggressive or disruptive behavior or noises, and effective action is not taken to control it; unless said noise/behavior(s) are part of the needed disability service to the Owner.
  • The SA is not housebroken.
  • The SA poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
  • The SA is not in good health, well-groomed, or reasonably cared for.
  • The SA infringes inappropriately into other’s personal space.

In the event that restriction or removal of a SA is determined to be necessary, every effort will be made to assure that the Owner still has access to the programs, services, or activities of the College without the animal.

All questions regarding SAs should be directed to the Coordinator of Access Services (434)-947-8132.

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