Service Animal Information

Policy List


Service Animals (ADA Definition)

Any guide or signal dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability, and the work is directly related to the individual’s disability.  An animal fitting this description is considered a service animal under the ADA regardless of whether the animal is trained under a certified society or is licensed by stated or local government.

In addition to provisions for service dogs, revised ADA regulations have new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilites.  (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24-34 inchanges measured at the shoulders and generally weigh between 70-100 lbs).

The following are examples of how service animals commonly assist individuals with disabilities:

  • Guiding individuals who are blind;
  • Alerting individuals with hearing loss;
  • Pulling a wheelchair for a person with a physical or mobility disability;
  • Fetching items, or turning on/off light switches; or
  • Alerting others or standing guard over a person during a seizure.
  • Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack.

The ADA also stipulates that service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.  In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.


The following legislation protects the rights of individuals requiring service animals.

Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) As Amended

Businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, zoos, and parks (U.S. DOJ Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section).

Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) As Amended

No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by such entity. A public entity shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability (including discrimination against persons with disabilities who use service animals), unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 7(20), shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service.

The Guide Dog Access Act / White Cane Law (Illinois General Assembly)

A person who has a visual impairment, hearing impairment or physical disability and is accompanied by a service dog is guaranteed the right of entry and use of all public accommodations, include modes of transportation.

County and Municipal Laws


Handlers (Students Only)

  1. Handlers are responsible for complying with the Champaign County and city ordinances for animal rights and owner responsibilities, including displaying tags documenting their service animals are vaccinated;
  2. DRES, units of campus, and housing are not responsible for the costs of care necessary for a service animal’s well-being—the arrangements and responsibilities with the care of a service animal are the sole responsibility of their handler at all times;
  3. It is suggested that service animals wear a leash or harness and identification (e.g., ID tag) while on campus; and
  4. Handlers must be in full control of their service animal at all times.

University Community

The University community:

  1. Must allow service animals to accompany their handlers at all times and everywhere on campus, except for places where there is a health, environmental, or safety hazard;
  2. Should contact DRES if any questions or concerns arise relating to service animals; and
  3. Should report any service animals who misbehave, or any handlers who mistreat their service animals (listed below are the policy and procedures for reporting negative behaviors).

DRES (Office Responsible for Providing Services to Students With Disabilities)


  1. Develops the necessary policies and procedures for the University regarding service animals;
  2. Assists the University community when questions or concerns arise relating to service animals on campus, and seeks legal advice when necessary.

FAQ List

What are some basic etiquette rules for service animals and their handlers?

  1. Do not feed or pet service animals when you see them on campus;
  2. Do not try to separate handler from service animal; and
  3. Do not harass or startle a service animal.

Under what circumstances can a service animal be asked to leave or not allowed participation on campus?

  1. If a service animal is found to be disruptive in the classroom;
  2. If a service animals shows aggression towards their handler or other members of campus or the community;
  3. If a service animal is physically ill;
  4. If the service animal is unreasonably dirty;
  5. Any place on campus where the presence of a service animal causes danger to the safety of the handler or other students/member of campus; or
  6. Any place on campus where a service animal’s safety is compromised.

What needs to happen if a service animal is behaving aggressively towards their handler or others, or if a handler or other students is behaving aggressively towards a service animal?

Call campus police at 217-333-1216.

What if another student (in housing or in class) or a faculty member has severe allergies around animal dander?

The final determination regarding how to manage the situation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Please contact DRES for further information if a situation of this nature occurs.

Are faculty/staff allowed to ask an individual about their service animal’s purpose if one enters their office or classroom?

If there is a reason to question whether an animal accompanying a student to classrooms or offices is a service animal, faculty/staff may ask two questions: (1) Is the dog a service animal required because of disability?  (2) What work or task as the dog been trained to perform?   Staff cannot ask about a 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. 

If faculty or staff have any additional questions regarding a student enrolled in their class with a service animal, please contact DRES.

If faculty or staff have any additional questions regarding visitors to campus who have service animals, please contact the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Access at (217) 333-0885.

What should a handler do if he/she has concerns about his or her ability to use a service animal to access campus facilities and programs?

Handlers who have concerns about any matter affecting their access with a service animal, should contact DRES, and review the accommodations and grievances procedures.

Who is responsible for cleaning up after the dog on campus?

It is the Handler’s personal responsibility to immediately clean up or to solicit the proper assistance for cleaning up if their service animal defecates routinely, or becomes ill and either vomits and/or becomes incontinent.

For more information, contact DRES.