Service Animal Policy

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are permitted in University facilities for persons with documented disabilities. A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including but not limited to guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing, providing minimal rescue or protection work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items. The service the animal is providing must be directly related to the functional limitation of the person’s disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

Service animals whose behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or is disruptive to the BU community may be excluded, regardless of training or certification.

Requirements of Service Animals and Their Handlers

  • Identification: The service animal should wear a harness, identification tag or other gear that readily identifies its working status. If there is not a visible tag, university officials may ask the handler if the animal is a working animal.
  • Control: The handler must be in full control of the service animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its handler.
  • Leash: The service animal must be on a leash at all times.
  • License and Tags: All service animals must have an owner identification tag. If the service animal is a dog, it must be licensed from an approved training program or have current license and tags from local authorities.
  • Health: The service animal must be in good health. Animals to be housed in campus housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. The service animal must have current vaccinations and immunizations against diseases common to that type of animal. All service animals must wear a current rabies vaccination tag.

Handler Conditions for Having a Service Animal on BU property

  • Clean-up Rule: The handler must (1) always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces whenever the animal and handler are on BU property; and (2) be responsible for the proper disposal of the animal’s feces and for any damage caused by the waste or its removal.
  • Disruption: The handler of a service animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, nipping, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from University facilities. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be required to take significant steps to mitigate the behavior before bringing the animal into any University facility. Mitigation may include muzzling a barking animal, obtaining refresher training for both the animal and the partner, or other appropriate measures.

BU Faculty and Staff policies regarding student/visitor service animals. Faculty and staff should:

  • Allow a service animal to accompany the handler at all times and everywhere on campus, except where service animals are specifically prohibited due to health, environmental, or safety hazards (e.g., certain research laboratories, mechanical rooms, custodial closets, areas where protective clothing is necessary, or areas were there is a danger to the animal).
  • Always speak to the handler first, remember, this animal is working and is not a pet.
  • Refrain from petting, feeding, or deliberately startling a service animal. Resist the temptation to offer treats to the service animal.
  • Immediately report any disruptive behavior of a service animal to University Police. No attempt should be made to separate a handler from his or her service animal.
  • Any questions regarding service animals or their handlers should be directed to the Disability Services Office (for students) or Human Resources (for faculty/staff).