A service animal is any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. While legal access rights are afforded to users of service animals, that access comes with the responsibility of ensuring that the animal behaves and responds appropriately, at all times, in public and that the handler, as a team, must adhere to the same socially accepted standards as any individual in the University community. At Concordia University, it is the handler’s responsibility to ensure the safety of a service animal.
Types of Service Dogs:
- Guide dog: A dog trained to serve as a travel tool for individuals who are blind or have low vision.
- Hearing dog: A dog trained to alert a person with a significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound occurs (e.g. a knock on the door, a fire alarm, the phone ringing).
- Service dog (assistance dog): A dog trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment. Types of duties the dog may perform include carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, assisting a person to get up after a fall, etc.
- Sig (signal) dog: A dog trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements, such as hand flapping, which are common among those with autism. This intervention allows the person to stop the movement. A person with autism may also have deficits in sensory input, and may need the same support services from a dog as those of a person who is blind or deaf.
- Seizure response dog: A dog trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder. The methods by which the dog serves the person depends on the individual’s needs. Some dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.
The handler of the service animal must show proof that the animal has met the following regulations:
Licensing: If the animal is residing on campus, it must meet the City of Montreal’s licensing requirements and wear the tags designated by the city. If the animal accompanies a commuter student, employee or other campus visitor and resides in another locale, the animal must meet the licensing requirements of the handler’s resident town and wear the tags designated by that community.
- The animal must be on a leash at all times. It should never be permitted to wander around off leash except if the animal is working.
- The handler must be in full control of the animal at all times.
- The animal must be as unobtrusive as possible.
- The animal must be well groomed and measures should be taken, at all times, to maintain flea and odor control.
- Consideration of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of assistance animals.
A service animal must be well-behaved and its handler must ensure that the animal does not engage in behavior that would be a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
Public Etiquette by Students/Staff/Faculty/Administrators on Campus:
Individuals should not:
- Pet a service animal while it is working. Service animals are trained to be protective of their partners and petting distracts them from their responsibilities.
- Feed a working service animal.
- Deliberately startle, tease or taunt a service animal.
- Separate or attempt to separate a service animal from his/her handler.
- Hesitate to ask a student if he/she would like assistance if the team (handler and service animal) seems confused about a direction in which to turn, an accessible entrance, the location of an elevator, etc.
Relief areas will be designated on an individual basis with the collaboration of the Access Centre for Students with Disabilities and the University grounds personnel. The areas will be included in mobility training and orientation of handlers and animals that are new to the campus. It is the handler’s responsibility to be aware of the dog’s need to relieve itself and act accordingly.
The links below will take you to additional information on Service Animals:
In the United States