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Service Animal Policy

Contact Us

Access and Disability Resources
Wheelock Library Building, Suite 205A
132 Riverway
Boston, MA 02215

Director: Jennifer Pike
Confidential Fax: 617-879-2163
Email: adr@wheelock.edu

Wheelock College is committed to providing a welcoming campus for all students, including students with disabilities. The College must also provide a safe and healthy campus, while maintaining the facilities of the college. It is with this in mind that the office of Access and Disability Resources, in accordance with applicable Federal and State Laws and Regulations has put forth the following Service Animal Policy.

1. Definitions

Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Service Animal: According to the ADA Amendments Act, a "service animal" is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. In some cases a miniature horse may be permitted as a service animal. The work or task that the dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. The service dog is specifically NOT a pet.

Team: A team includes a partner /handler (the person with disability), and their service dog. The two work as an interdependent team in accomplishing the tasks of everyday living.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): An animal, including species other than dogs (and miniature horses) that provides emotional or other support, that ameliorates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. Unlike service animals, ESA are not trained to perform work or tasks.
Pets: A pet is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals are not considered pets. Individuals are not permitted to bring pets on campus property, including housing.

Service Puppy/Dog in Training: The handler (a student volunteering as a puppy raiser) must provide evidence that the puppy is a bona fide service dog candidate, provided by an authorized service dog organization, and is one that the service dog organization will have returned to them for specialized training. A student engaged in the raising of a service dog shall have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as those afforded to an individual with a disability (M.G.L.A.129 39F);

  • Puppy or Trainee may not remain alone in student's residence more than 4 hours at a time, and such limitations shall not be affected by student's academic, employment or social schedules.
  • Owner or Handler will not delegate any of these responsibilities for raising puppy or trainee, including but not limited to those delineated herein to any other student(s) except as follows; Owner/Handler may designate roommate to be responsible, in his/her absence, for feeding , walking (including required clean up). However, the roommate must agree to these terms without coercion.

Repeated infractions of the service animal policy will result in the removal of the service puppy or trainee from campus.

2. Verification of Disability and Licensing/Vaccination/Identification Requirements


1.) Is the animal required because of a disability
2.) What work or task has the animal been trained to perform. The Handler is not required to provide proof that their service animal is trained, certified, or licensed as a service animal

Licensing: The service animal must adhere to the City of Boston and State of Massachusetts registration requirements. If the service animal is owned by a commuter student, it must meet the licensing requirements of the student's town and/or state (if residing outside Massachusetts). The service animal must be wearing the appropriate city and state tags at all times.

Vaccinations: The service animal should have evidence of all up-to-date vaccinations that are common for the animal, including rabies (with tag). The service animal should be examined yearly by a veterinarian and given a clean bill of health.

Identification: Service animals, including puppies and trainees, are highly encouraged to wear appropriate identification at all times, including service animal vests, harnesses or other identification while in public areas on campus, unless the handler is unable to use a harness, leash or tether, or the use would interfere with an animal's performance of work.

3. Handler Responsibilities

The handler of the service animal is responsible for the care and well-being of the animal at all times.

  • The animal must be well behaved and cannot pose a health or safety risk to others (when there are opposing conditions, such as the need for a service animal and a student with allergies to dogs, both students should be reasonably accommodated).
  • The animal should be housebroken as well as spayed/neutered.
  • The animal must be kept on a leash and/or harness outside of the handler's private residence, kept under control while in a public environment and be clearly identifiable as a service animal, if the animal is working as a service animal. The service animal must be under the Handler's control (voice control, signals, or other effective means).
  • Appropriate action should be taken by the handler to ensure that the animal is in good health, and free of pests such as fleas and ticks. The service animal should be regularly groomed and bathed.
  • The handler is responsible for the removal and disposal of the animal's waste. Persons who are, due to disability, unable to remove their service animal's waste should take their animal to a designated relief areas, which will be determined on an individual basis and coordinated between Access and Disability Resources and Wheelock facilities personnel. This plan should include what action is to be taken, should the animal relieve itself in a non-designated area.

4. Financial Responsibility

The Handler is financially responsible for property damage that their service animal caused on the Wheelock campus, including within residence halls. This includes, but is not limited to the cost of repairs to walls or floors, replacement or cleaning of facilities or rooms, as well as any bodily or personal injury that the animal caused.

5. Relief Areas

Service animals are only permitted to relieve themselves in designated areas, as indicated above under Control Requirements. These plans will be created on an individual basis with collaboration between Access and Disability Resources, Wheelock Facilities, and the student.

6. Removal of the Service Animal from College Facilities and Programs

A service animal may be determined to be out of control if it displays vicious behavior toward other students/faculty; is disruptive whether by barking, running about unrestrained, or nipping; is not housebroken, or is insufficiently groomed. The infraction will be handled on a case-by-case basis by Access and Disability Resources, as well as Residence Life, Public Safety and other offices as pertains to the specific case. Possible resolutions include muzzling, refresher training for the animal or revoking permissions for the animal to access public areas.

In the event that a service animal is excluded from Wheelock facilities, it is the responsibility of student to discuss with the Director of Access and Disability Resources, reasonable alternatives to the assistance that was provided by the service animal.

7. Restricted Areas

Wheelock can prohibit access to parts of campus to any service animal. In the unlikely event this would happen, Access and Disability Resources would discuss possible alternative arrangements with the student. These locations would be designated because they pose a health or safety risk (the service animal could be endangered or the presence of the animal would diminish the integrity of the research being conducted).

8. Conflicting Disabilities

Students who have allergies, respiratory issues, or other conditions that would be exacerbated by the service animal should contact Access and Disability Resources about their concerns regarding exposure. The student will the conflicting diagnoses will need to provide documentation to support their diagnoses and need for their own accommodation. Access and Disability Resources will determine whether accommodation should be made for the student with the conflicting disability. Early notification of accommodation needs can help minimize any potential conflicts.

9. Notification

A student with a service animal doesn't have to have their service animal approved as an accommodation; however, the student must notify Access and Disability Resources at least thirty (30) days prior to the start of the school year or the move in day. Advanced notice is needed in order to best meet the needs of the service dog team.

10. Emergency Evacuation

Wheelock Public Safety will be made aware of any service animal working and/or living on campus. In the event of an emergency on campus, the Emergency Responders should be informed of the service animal team(s) on campus. First responders should be trained to recognize a service animal, and be aware that the animal may try to communicate its handler's state of being. The animal may be disoriented either due to smoke inhalation, general anxiety because of actions by others in the environment, sirens from emergency vehicles or from shaking/moving ground. The Emergency Response team should recognize that the animal could try to protect its handler, and should be aware that the dog poses no threat to them. The Emergency Response Team should keep the service animal with its handler at all times, unless doing so would result in life threatening injury either to the handler or the Emergency Response Team member. In the residence halls and campus buildings Wheelock has placed signage identifying Area of Safe Refuge so in the event of an emergency evacuation, if a student with their service animal can't exit the building using the stairs, first responders will be directed to these specific locations.

11. Complaints, Appeals, Grievances, and Exceptions

Individuals who wish to request modifications or exceptions to the policy should do so by contacting the Director of Access and Disability Resources. Resolutions will be determined on a case by case basis.

A student who is dissatisfied with the resolution should file a grievance as described in the Wheelock Student Handbook.

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