Animals on Campus | Kent State University

Animals on Campus

This page provides information regarding the three classifications of working animals that you may see in your classroom or around campus, which include service animals, service animals in training, and assistance animals. Also included is information regarding service animals in laboratory settings. Please contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) with further questions or concerns about service and assistance animals.

Service Animals
Service Animals in Training
Assistance Animals
Etiquette with Service Animals and Service Animals in Training
Service Animals in Laboratory Settings


Service Animals

Service animals are dogs trained to do work or perform a task for the benefit of a person with a disability. The work or task must be directly related to the person’s disability. If a dog’s job is not apparent, you may ask only two questions: (1) is this dog required because of a disability? If the answer is no, it may be appropriate to ask the owner to remove the dog from the premises. If the answer is yes, then you may proceed to the second question: (2) what work or task is the dog trained to do? Sample tasks may include, but are not limited to, seizure response, retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors, and carrying medication.

According to Title II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, service dogs are permitted to accompany a person with a disability in any public space, unless the dog’s presence would compromise a sterile environment. Service dogs may attend class, visit the dining hall, and take part in other campus activities.  An accommodation through SAS is not required for a service dog. Service dogs should be regarded as working and should not be treated as or referred to as pets. No specific type of identification is required.

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Service Animals in Training

Under Ohio Revised Code § 955.43, handlers of service animals (dogs) in training are afforded the same rights as the handlers of fully-trained service animals (dogs). This means that service animals (dogs) in training may attend class, accompany trainers to dining facilities, and take part in other campus activities. There are a number of organizations that train service dogs, such as Paws for a Cause and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. All service dogs in training are required to have insurance through their sponsoring organization. Service dogs in training through Kent State University’s Paws for a Cause chapter, a student organization registered with the Center for Student Involvement, will wear a vest denoting their affiliation with the program. Faculty will receive notification from the chapter president and/or the student trainer if a service dog in training will be present in their classroom. Questions about Paws for a Cause can be directed to the chapter president

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Assistance Animals

Assistance animals can be any animal that provides companionship or emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Assistance animals do not need to be specifically trained and are restricted to the residence hall unit of the individual except to the extent the individual takes the animal outside for natural relief. When taking the animal outside of the residence hall unit, the animal must be in a carrier or controlled by a leash or harness. Assistance animals are not permitted in any university facilities other than the residence hall unit in which the owner is assigned.  Assistance Animals are an accommodation granted through Student Accessibility Services (SAS) for students or through Human Resources for faculty and staff. They are restricted to the areas approved for as part of their accommodation through SAS or HR.

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Etiquette with Service Animals and Service Animals in Training

  • Do not pet a service dog or a service dog in training without the permission of the owner/ handler as this may distract the animal from the task at hand.
  • Do not feed a service dog or service dog in training.
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate a service dog or service dog in training from their owner/handler.
  • Allergies or fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access to people using service dogs. Most allergies to animals are caused by direct contact with the animal. A separate space may be adequate to avoid allergic reactions. However, access should not be denied without consultation between the student, instructor, and SAS. If others are afraid of a service dog or service dog in training, a solution may be to allow enough space for that person to avoid getting close to the service dog.
  • The service dog or service dog in training must be under the owner/handler’s control at all times. It may be appropriate to ask the owner/handler to remove the dog from the premises if the dog is not under control of the owner/handler (e.g. excessive barking, poses a threat to the safety of others, etc.).

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Service Animals in Laboratory Settings

A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Tasks performed may include, but are not limited to, retrieving dropped items, providing balance assistance, carrying medical supplies, seizure response, and opening and closing doors. Per Ohio Revised Code § 955.43, handlers of service dogs in training, such as dogs affiliated with Paws for a Cause, should be afforded the same rights and protections as handlers of trained service dogs.

These guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of both students and service dogs within the laboratory environment. Because hazardous chemicals, open flames, glassware, and electrical equipment pose unique risks, Student Accessibility Services (SAS) recommends the following precautions:

  • Alternative seating at the end of benches or using gates, pens, or kennels (for kennel-trained service dogs) may be appropriate. Students should be permitted to keep the service dog as close as is safe for the student and the dog. Students may wish to visit the lab in advance of the class to familiarize themselves and their dog with the layout of the lab, as well as the smells and sounds of the lab.
  • Service dogs entering laboratories must be similarly protected as is expected of the student to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, broken glass or other hazards that might be present in the laboratory environment. This equipment would be provided by the owner and include disposable or reusable boots to cover the feet, eye protection, and/or lab coats.  SAS recommends disposable, plastic-backed, absorbent lab paper or pet pads for the dog to lie on rather than direct contact with the floor. If appropriate protective equipment is not provided, the service dog may not be permitted into the lab.
  • Service dogs in labs are expected to maintain the same level of appropriate behavior as in other University settings. This includes no jumping, barking unless in the proper context, growling, or interfering with lab activities. Interaction with the dog is by permission of the owner and may only be permitted outside of the laboratory.
  • Service dog access can be restricted if the presence of the dog can interfere with the outcomes of the experiments or if substances used can be hazardous to a dog. Access should not be denied without consultation between the student, lab instructor or manager, and SAS. Students and faculty should contact SAS at 330-672-3391 or sas@kent.edu with questions or concerns.

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