Animals on Campus

Sauk Valley Community College (SVCC) makes every reasonable effort to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).  In compliance with these acts and in the best interest of the community it serves, SVCC has instated the following policies regarding animals on campus.

Service Animals

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

Under the ADA,  service animals may accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. 

Responsibilities of a service animal handler:

  • Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
  • The service dog must be housebroken.  It is the handler’s sole responsibility to ensure that the animal is taken outside to relieve itself and dispose of waste material appropriately.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his or her service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain services without the animal’s presence.

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

ADA permits the use of trained miniature horses as alternatives to dogs, subject to certain limitations. To allow flexibility in situations where using a horse would not be appropriate, the final rule does not include miniature horses in the definition of "service animal."

Service dogs in training generally are not allowed in or near campus buildings.

Non-service Animals

Emotional support, comfort, or therapy animals are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA and are generally not permitted in or near campus buildings.  Non-service animals are often used to ameliorate stress or provide comfort to others and are not limited to individuals with disabilities. Although some animals are part of a medical therapy plan please note that a doctor’s letter or therapy plan does not turn an animal into a service animal. Students who wish to request permission to have a non-service animal in or near campus buildings must meet with the Director of Disability Support Services prior to bringing any animal on campus. Students may contact 815-835-6220 to schedule an appointment.

Organizations or individuals that wish to feature or promote a non-service animal program in connection with a campus sponsored event should contact the Security Office at 815-288-5511 for further information and guidelines. Non-service animals are not guaranteed access to public areas under the law and if allowed on campus may be restricted to designated areas.  Non-service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times.