Service Animal Policy

Missouri State University-West Plains (University) acknowledges the importance of Service Animals (defined herein) in providing an individual with a disability with specific services directly related to the individual's disability. Therefore, the University welcomes Service Animals in its buildings, classrooms, University Housing, meeting rooms, dining areas, recreational facilities, and sponsored activities and events subject to this Service Animal Policy.

  1. Definitions:

    For purposes of this Policy the following words have the following meaning:

    Emotional Support Animal (ESA):
    An animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptom(s) or effect(s) of an individual's disability. However, the animal has not been specifically trained to do work or perform and does not perform work or tasks that would qualify it as a Service Animal. See Emotional Support Animal Policy.
    Handler:
    A person with a disability that a Service Animal assists or an attendant who handles the Service Animal on behalf of a person with a disability.
    Relief Areas:
    Areas on campus suitable for the sanitary relief of Emotional Support Animal's or Service Animal's urine and feces, including the nearest grassy areas outdoors or other area as directed by University personnel.
    Service Animal:
    Any dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with a disability. A miniature horse may classify as a Service Animal if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability and the facilities can accommodate the miniature horse given the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse. Pursuant to Missouri law, a dog that is being trained as a Service Animal, shall be considered a Service Animal for purposes of this Policy while the dog is actually engaged in training by an appropriate individual. See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 209.152.
    Resident:
    An individual eligible for and assigned dwelling space in University Housing.
    University Housing:
    A Residence Hall maintained or managed by the University.
  2. Service Animals Procedures:

    1. University Students who seek to utilize a Service Animal on University's campus and/or at University events are covered under the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments thereto. Students should consider coordinating with the University's Disability Services Coordinator prior to bringing the Service Animal to campus. Additionally, Resident Handlers are strongly encouraged to inform University's Residence Life Department (Department) prior to occupying University Housing with a Service Animal.
    2. University Faculty and Staff should discuss the use of a Service Animals in the workplace with the Missouri State-West Plains Equal Opportunity Liaison or the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). Faculty and Staff use of Service Animals is subject to this Policy including, but not limited to, the obligations of the Handler outlined below.
    3. University Visitors are permitted to bring Service Animals into building, classrooms, residence halls, meeting rooms, dining areas, recreational facilities, and sponsored activities and events without prior approval, subject to the restrictions outlined in this Policy and the obligations of the Handler outlined below.
    4. University personnel should not ask about the necessity of a service animal when it is apparent that the animal is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. In situations where it is not apparent that the animal is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, the only ADA permitted inquiry are the following two questions: 1) Is the animal required because of a disability, and 2) What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? University personnel with questions regarding this analysis and the permitted inquiry should contact the Missouri State-West Plains Equal Opportunity Liaison.
  3. Obligations of Service Animal Handler:

    The supervision of a Service Animal is solely the responsibility of the Handler. Handlers are subject to the following obligations, in addition to any other University rule or regulation not specifically related to Service Animals. The Handler of a Service Animal must:

    1. Keep the Service Animal under the Handler's control at all times.

      The Service Animal must be property restrained or otherwise under the control of the Handler at all times. No Service Animal may go loose or run at large on University property. If a Service Animal is found running at large, the Service Animal is subject to capture, confinement, and removal from University property.

    2. Comply with Applicable Law and Policies Regarding Animal Ownership.

      The Handler must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to the licensing, vaccination, and other requirements of animal ownership. It is the Handler's responsibility to know and understand all applicable ordinances, laws, and regulations in addition to University policies applicable to Service Animals. The University may request documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include presentation of vaccination certificate(s).

    3. Take Proper Care of the Service Animal.

      The Handler is required to ensure the Service Animal is well cared for at all times. Evidence of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, extended absence, or abandonment may result in the removal of the Service Animal, or other consequences. Handler is solely responsible for providing care and food for the Service Animal. University dining center policies prohibit the removal of food or food scraps from dining facilities for the purpose of feeding Service Animals. University personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any Service Animal including, but not limited to, removing the animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the Service Animal from University Housing in an emergency and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the Service Animal.

    4. Be Responsible for Property Damages and Damages or Injuries to, or Caused by, the Service Animal.

      The Service Animal is expected to be housebroken and to utilize available Relief Areas when necessary. The Handler is required to clean up after and properly dispose of all waste created by the Service Animal in a safe and sanitary manner. The Handler will be responsible for any and all damages or injuries caused by the Service Animal and the Handler must take reasonable precautions to prevent property damage or injury caused by the Service Animal. The Residents with Service Animals residing in University Housing will be charged for any and all damages caused by a Service Animal or additional cleaning required due to the Service Animal (beyond reasonable wear and tear) to the same extent that other residents are charged for same.

  4. Conflicting Disabilities:

    The University may restrict an individual's use of a Service Animal, pursuant to this Policy, when the Service Animal poses a substantial and direct threat to the health or safety of the University community, when the presence of the Service Animal constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or service provided by the University, or for the Handler's failure to comply with the obligations set forth under this Policy.

    The University may also limit the use of Service Animals in certain locations due to health or safety concerns, where the Service Animal may be in danger, or where their presence may compromise the integrity of research due to the presence of chemicals and/or organisms. Should the University limit the presence of a Service Animal, the University will reasonably endeavor to work with the Handler to determine reasonable alternative opportunities to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the Service Animal on the premises.

  5. Exclusions of Service Animals:

    The Department or other University Personnel, (e.g. following adjudication through the Office of Student Life and Development), may remove an ESA from University Housing if the ESA poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, causes substantial property damage to the property of others, including University property; or the Resident fails to comply with the obligations set forth above. Student Residents will be subject to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Code) regarding failure to comply with this Policy.

  6. Grievance procedure

    If any individual believes that the University has failed to abide by this policy or has otherwise unreasonably restricted the use of a Service Animal on the University's campus or at University events, such individual should contact the Missouri State-West Plains Equal Opportunity Liaison or OIEC:

    Missouri State University-West Plains

    University and Community Programs, West Plains Civic Center, Suite 201
    128 Garfield
    West Plains, MO 65775
    Toll Free: 888-466-7897
    Fax: 417-255-7963
    TDD: 417-255-7940

    Missouri State University

    Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Park Central Office Building, Suite 111
    901 S. National Avenue
    Springfield, MO 65897
    Toll Free: 877-967-8636
    Fax: 417-836-3055
    TTY: 417-836-3257

    The OIEC is charged with investigating complaints of discrimination or harassment, including complaints regarding violations of this Policy.

    Student Residents may also contact the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights

    Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-1100
    Customer Service Hotline #: 800-421-3481
    Facsimile: 202-453-6012 TDD#: 877-521-2172
    Email: OCR@ed.gov
  7. Non-Discrimination/Non-retaliation Provision

    1. University is a community of people with respect for diversity. The University emphasizes the dignity and equality common to all persons and adheres to a strict non-discrimination policy regarding the treatment of individual faculty, staff, and students. In accord with federal law and applicable Missouri statutes, the University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin (including ancestry, or any other subcategory of national origin recognized by applicable law), religion, sex (including marital status, family status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other subcategory of sex recognized by applicable law), age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by applicable law in employment or in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the University. Sex discrimination encompasses sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, and is strictly prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
    2. University will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in University housing, including the use of a Service Animal.
    3. If you are a student with a disability and anticipate barriers related to this Policy, it is important to request accommodations. Please contact the Disability Services Coordinator, (https://wp.missouristate.edu/aaccess/disability.htm) Lybyer Technology Center, Suite 210, 417-255-8062.

    Line of authority

    Responsible administrator and office: Dean of Academic Affairs, Equal Opportunity Liaison

    Contact person in that office: Disability Services Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Liaison

    Effective date: April 6, 2018

    Presidential approval: Related Op5.05-7 Approved February 12, 2018