|ADA Service Animals||Wisconsin State Law Service Animals||Service Animals-in-Training||Emotional Support Animals||Therapy Animals|
|Permitted at the University?||Yes, with limited exceptions||Only in facilities offering goods or services to the general public (e.g., The Union)||Only in facilities offering goods or services to the general public (e.g., The Union)||Only if approved as a reasonable accommodation||No, unless approved per UWS 18.08|
|Species||Dog or miniature horse||Any species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review||Any species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review||Any species except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review|
|Requirements||Trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability;
under handler’s control at all times
|Trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability;
under handler’s control at all times
|Harnessed or leashed and wearing a special cape at all times||Under the handler’s control at all times; other requirements as determined by a University Disability Authority||If permitted on campus under UWS 18.08, must be leashed and under the handler’s control unless otherwise authorized|
|Legal Protection||ADA||Wisconsin state law||Wisconsin state law||Fair Housing Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act||None|
Assistance and Service Animals Decision Making Guide
Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a service animal?
- Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) must be directly related to the person’s disability.
- Under Wisconsin state law, a service animal can be any species (except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review) trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) must be directly related to the person’s disability, and the service animal is only allowed in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public (e.g., The Union).
Are service animals-in-training, emotional support, or therapy animals considered service animals under the ADA?
No. Since these animals are either in the process of being trained or have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they are not protected under the ADA. Other applicable laws, such as Wisconsin Statute 106.52(1)(fm), permit service animals-in-training to be brought into places offering goods or services to the general public (e.g., The Union, Nicholas Recreation Facility, etc.) if the animal is wearing a harness or leash and a special cape.
Individuals seeking to have an emotional support animal at the university must contact the appropriate university disability authority.
Can a service animal be any breed of dog?
Yes. The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breed, unless the dog itself poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?
No. Neither the ADA nor state law requires service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or special harness. The service animal, however, must always be under the handler’s control.
How can I know an animal is a service animal protected under the ADA or state law?
Under the ADA, a service animal is only a dog or miniature horse, whereas under Wisconsin state law, a service animal can be any species (except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review). Under both laws, a service animal is required to be under the handler’s control at all times. A service animal may be leashed or wear a vest, but this is not required if it interferes with a person’s disability. If it is not obvious that the animal is a service animal, the handler may only be asked the following two specific questions:
- Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
Staff may never request any documentation for the animal, require the animal to demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of a person’s disability. Staff can use this decision-making guide for further assistance.
For further clarification on Service Animals please review our Assistance and Service Animals Decision Making Guide.
Can a service animal be required to be registered with a campus unit or a university disability authority?
Generally, no. Students or program participants may voluntarily register their service animal. Employees work with their Divisional Disability Representative to request their service animal to be permitted in their workplace as a reasonable accommodation.
Are there any restrictions on an employee having a service animal in their university workplace?
Yes, there are restrictions for employees with service animals. Service animals are not protected under the employment provisions of the ADA. Employees requesting to have their service animal at work must contact their Divisional Disability Representative to determine if the animal is a reasonable workplace accommodation.
The Rocky Mountain ADA Center offers this short, captioned, “Service Animals in the Workplace & Title I of the ADA” video that provides further information.
Does a service animal need to be professionally trained?
No. People with disabilities may train their animal themselves. A service animal must be fully trained and under the handler’s control to be protected.
Who is responsible for any animal permitted at UW-Madison?
The handler of a service animal, service animal-in-training, emotional support animal, or therapy animal is responsible for caring and supervising the animal, including toileting, feeding, grooming, and other care.
Can a service animal be present in a dining hall?
In most instances, yes. A service animal can accompany its handler in all areas of a dining hall a patron is permitted, such as salad bars and check-out aisles.
A service animal for a dining hall employee would need to be approved as a reasonable accommodation by a Divisional Disability Representative.
My emotional support animal is certified. Can I take it with me to work or the Union or my dorm room or class?
No. Even with certification, an emotional support animal needs to be approved as a reasonable accommodation by a university disability authority. Students requesting an emotional support animal in housing work with the McBurney Disability Resource Center and employees work with their Divisional Disability Representative. Spouses/partners of students or employees living in University Housing use the following disability accommodation request process. All other visitors or guests contact the ADA Coordinator for further information.
My emotional support animal was approved as a housing accommodation by the McBurney Disability Resource Center. Can I take it to class?
No. Please contact your McBurney Disability Resource Center Access Consultant for further information.
Can I bring a therapy animal to my staff meeting or to my student organization meeting?
No. Therapy animals are not protected under any federal or state laws and are not an accommodation for individuals with disabilities unless approved as an emotional support animal. Therapy animals are considered pets and per UWS 18.08, they are prohibited from the university at all times except when explicitly authorized. Individuals seeking to bring their therapy animal to the university should contact their supervisor or dean.
What is UW-Madison's University Disability Authority?
The following entities have disability subject matter expertise and ensure compliance to applicable laws protecting individuals with disabilities. Collectively, they are the university’s disability authority:
- ADA Coordinator in the Office of Compliance;
- Divisional Disability Representatives in consultation with the Employee Disability Resources Office (for employees or prospective employees); and,
- McBurney Disability Resource Center (for credit-earning or degree students, special students, guest auditors, prospective students, and Division of Extension program participants).
Service Animal Etiquette
Service animals are not pets. Here are guidelines to follow when encountering a service animal:
- Do not pet or touch, talk to, or distract a service animal without the handler’s permission. It is important to allow the animal to focus and perform its task for its handler.
- Do not feed a service animal without the handler’s permission.
- Speak to the person, not the service animal.
- Do not attempt to take physical or voice control over a service animal. You may confuse it or cause it to become disoriented.
- If a service animal approaches you on its own, and it has a vest that says “Follow Me,” this means that its handler may need assistance. Please follow the service animal to provide assistance as needed.
Campus Policies and General Resources
- UW-Madison Service Animal Policy
- UW-Madison Emotional Support Animal Policy
- Americans with Disabilities Act – Title II – Services Animals
- Department of Justice. Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA. Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section.
- Rocky Mountain ADA Center: Service Animals in the Workplace & Title I of the ADA (video with captions)
- ADA National Network: Service Animal Resource Hub