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Accessibility Resource Center

Animals on Campus

California State University Chico welcomes the use of Service and Support Animals. Students who wish to use these animals on campus are expected to contact Accessibility Resource Center to help determine how their animal will be classified at CSU Chico. Certain types of animals may be allowed in all public places, while others may only be allowed in housing areas.

Definition of Service Animal

The American’s with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act define a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, redirecting a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA or Rehabilitation Act.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Service Animals:

Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their service animals at all times. Dogs must be tethered to the Handler by leash or harness, which does not exceed six (6) feet in length. Animals may not be aggressive, be a danger to the health and safety of the campus community or cause disruption to the educational process (i.e. not well behaved, barking, allowed to wander in a classroom, etc.). Disruption of the campus educational and administrative process or other campus function, remove the animal from the University property immediately by the owner or handler.

Individuals are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-­‐up and proper disposal of all animal waste.

Individuals must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of service animals. Animals found unattended, or abandoned may be humanely impounded in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

Individuals with disabilities are responsible for any damage caused by their animals and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage and injury.

Animals in University Housing

The Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, apply a broader definition of “assistance animal” when enforcing the law within the context of university housing. In this context, federal laws allow individuals with disabilities the presence of a broader range of animals (“assistance animals”) in University Housing as compared with the campus as a whole.

If a student or staff desires that a service or assistance animal live in campus housing, the resident must notify Accessibility Resource Center at least thirty (30) days prior to the desired move-­‐in date. Residents will be required to meet with an ARC Advisor to determine approval for the animal; will be required to provide documentation of the necessity of the animal, as well as sign an animal agreement. If all other criteria are met, as set forth by Accessibility Resource Center, ARC will contact University Housing to discuss how to best accommodate the student or staff, the service or assistance animal, and the campus community.


When it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal, only limited inquiries are allowed; Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. For students and employees with disabilities, the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) may require that documentation be provided on the letterhead of a treating physician or mental health provider, which permits the ARC to determine if the dog is a service animal.

Other Guidance:

  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • The Department of Justice explicitly rejects the idea that service dogs can be restricted by state and local governments based on breed. No county or city ordinance on breed restrictions supersedes the ADA.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service dogs in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • State and federal laws say that licensed service animal trainers shall be afforded the same rights and access as those provided to persons who use service animals. The key word is licensed. Professional trainers need to be licensed via the Department of Consumer Affairs – State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind (according to California Civil Code Section 54.2/FEHA). It is allowable for a person with a disability to train his/her own dog, but this does not extend to professionals who are training dogs with respect to gaining access to public places.