Friday, September 28, 2012

Partners in Education: Service Dogs on Campus

On March 15, 2011, the Department of Justice’s revisions to the Regulation Implementing Title II of the ADA took effect. Part of these amendments and revisions regarded the definition of a service animal which is now defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The rule states that other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as service animals. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals.

At Rogue Community College a service animal is considered an accommodation issue and requires an individual to have a valid accommodation plan in place if they expect to have their service animal on campus on a regular basis. The first step in implementing this plan is to contact the Disability Services office and setup an appointment to meet with the Disability Services Coordinator. Examples of work or tasks that a service dog may be seen providing, but not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual with a seizure, retrieving items, assist with balance and stability, and alerting an individual to the presence of allergens to name a few.

When you meet a person on campus with a service dog please remember that the dog is working. The Delta Society has five rules of interaction:

1) Speak to the person first. Do not aim distracting or rude noises at the dog.

2) Do not touch the service dog without asking for, and receiving permission.

3) Do not offer food to the service dog.

4) Do not ask personal questions about the handler’s disability, or otherwise intrude on his or her privacy.

5) Don’t be offended if the handler does not wish to chat about the service dog.

Rogue Community College’s current ADA policy for service animals can be found here . If you have any questions regarding service dogs on campus, please direct them to the Disability Services staff on either campus.

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