The University of Florida allows the use of trained service animals by individuals with disabilities in all public areas at the university.
Service animals are defined by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, on March 15, 2011, as dogs trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. In addition to dogs, the ADA now has separate regulations about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The regulations set forth for miniature horses are as follow:
- 24-34 inches high and generally between 70-100 lbs.
- Miniature horse is housebroken
- Miniature horse in under the owner’s control
- Whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse type, size, and weight
- Whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of the facility.
Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair or equipment for someone with a mobility disability, alerting or protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medicine, calming a person with PTSD, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Authorized UF personnel (full-time UF employees designated as the person in charge of the event, activity or facility and trained by the UF ADA Office) may ask two questions:
- Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? (Do Not ask what the disability is!)
- What work or task is the dog trained to perform?
The ADA requires that service animals be under the control of the handler at all times and be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with the services animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents them from using these devices.
Do not ask the person what their disability is or for medical documentation. The dog does not require any training documentation and do not ask that the dog or miniature horse demonstrate the task or work.
At the University of Florida, we take the person at their word that the dog is a service animal and trained to do a task.
Exclusions: A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his/her dog or horse from the premises unless:
- The dog or horse is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it.
- The dog or horse is not housebroken.
Service Dogs in Training
Florida State Statute 413.08 (8) provides the same protections to the service dog in training and trainer and both are allowed in all public spaces within the University of Florida. The service dog in training shall:
- Unlike trained service dogs, a service dog in training shall be identified with a vest or other marker that clearly identifies the dog as a service dog in training.
- The service dog in training shall behave, and under the control of the handler at all times (on leash or harness).
Service Animals in Campus Housing
For students who want to bring a service animal or an emotional support animal to live with them in UF campus housing, please go to https://housing.ufl.edu/living-options/terms-conditions/accommodation-requests/ for the procedure and information.
Please note: Emotional support animals are allowed in campus residence halls only, and not in other campus facilities. Only trained service animals are allowed in campus buildings.
Direct all questions to Dr. Russ Froman, UF ADA Compliance office, (352) 273-1094.
ADA National Network Resources
The ADA National Network has a wealth of resources regarding service animals and emotional support animals. Visit the link below to access these resources.