Saint Leo University recognizes the value of service animals and emotional support animals to assist some students with disabilities and complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act, respectively. Students who require the use of a service animal or emotional support animal must follow all University guidelines as outlined in Saint Leo University’s Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals Policy.
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal 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, alerting and 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. 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.
In addition to provisions for service dogs, revised ADA regulations have new, separate provisions about miniature horses that have been trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Students wishing to use a miniature horse as a service animal on campus should coordinate with the Office of Accessibility Services for guidance.
Students who are not living on campus and are using a Service Animal solely to access the campus environment are encouraged to register with the Office of Accessibility Services but are not required to do so. Students who require a Service Animal in campus housing must register with the Office of Accessibility Services and provide the necessary documentation as outlined in the Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals Policy.
Emotional Support Animals
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s existing disability and/or that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Unlike a service animal, an ESA does not necessarily need to be trained and is not limited to any specific type of animal. An ESA is not a pet or a service animal. ESAs must remain confined to the student’s living area with the exception of trips outside to visit relief areas or to take the ESA for a walk. Since an ESA is not regarded as a service animal, it may not be taken into any other public area of the campus, including the dining hall, classrooms, and administrative buildings. Additionally, ESAs may not be brought to campus events, even if those events are being held outdoors. Students who require the use of an ESA must register with the Office of Accessibility Services.