UNIVERSITY POLICIES

Service and Support Animal Policy

Long Island University (LIU) is committed to ensuring equal access for disabled students, staff, and faculty, as well as guests and visitors to its campuses. It is LIU’s policy to permit Service Animals, as defined below by the Americans with Disabilities Act, in all approved campus areas; and it may permit Emotional Support Animals (Support Animals), as a reasonable accommodation, in the residence halls for students with a documented disability. 

A. Service Animals A service animal is any dog (or miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. In other words, not only must the service animal be a dog, but the dog must be trained to perform specific tasks – “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. 

Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. 

If the animal meets the ADA definition of a service animal (i.e., a dog trained to perform service tasks), then the student may be asked two questions: 

(1) Is this a service animal that is required because of a disability? and 

(2) What work or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?

B. Support Animals
Under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), an emotional support animal (Support Animal) is viewed as a "reasonable accommodation" in a housing unit that has a "no pets" rule for its residents. A Support Animal is usually a dog, cat or other common domestic animal that provides therapeutic/emotional support to an individual with an identified disability. Support Animals may not be brought onto campus and/or into residential housing assignments without prior notice and approval. Once approved, Support Animals are only permitted to remain within the student’s on‐campus housing assignment. Support Animals are not permitted in other University Buildings or Classrooms. Each request is reviewed on a case‐by‐case basis and requires advanced documentation as outlined in this policy.

C. Procedures for Approval of Service and Support Animals in University Housing

(a) Requesting Permission to Have Service Animal On-Campus

The student should contact the campus Student Disability Services/Student Support Service office as soon as s/he is aware of plans to bring a Service or Support Animal to campus. Incoming residential students must submit their request for the accommodation of a Service or Support Animal with their initial housing application by:

  • May 1 for fall semester freshmen; July 1 for fall semester transfer students and graduate students
  • November 1 for spring semester

While requests made after the designated deadline will be accepted and considered, there is no guarantee that LIU will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation request, including any needs that develop during the semester. 

D. Documentation for a Service Animal 

When it is not obvious what service the animal provides, the student requesting permission to have a Service Animal on-campus must provide from a certified clinician a letter which substantiates: a) if the Service Animal is required because of a disability, and b) what work or task the Service Animal has been trained to perform. The letter must be dated and on letterhead and it must provide information establishing the existence of an impairment and sufficient information concerning his or her functional limitations to show that the work or tasks performed by the animal is related to those limitations. Insufficient documentation that does not fulfill the outlined requirements may result in accommodation delays or denial. The letter must contain an explanation of the tasks or function the animal has been trained to perform as a disability‐related accommodation, and the type/description of animal.

E. Documentation for Support Animal

Documentation of the need for Support Animal should follow Disability and/or Student Support Services (DSS/SSS) guidelines for documentation of disability, and should generally include the following information:

  1. Verification of the individual’s disability from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional,

  2. Statement on how the animal serves as an accommodation for the verified disability, and

  3. Statement on how the need for the animal relates to the ability of the resident/student or live-in family member to use and enjoy the living arrangements provided by the University.

  4. Current documentation of items requested in a., b., and c. (dated within the last 6 months of submission of the application.)

The University Disability Housing Committee will review documentation and, if the Committee approves the request, it shall arrange a meeting with the person requesting that a Service or Support Animal be housed in University housing. This policy will be carefully reviewed with the person at that time.

Students whose request for a Support Animal through this process is not granted will have the opportunity to appeal such decisions. All appeals are reviewed by the Dean of Students of LIU and her/his designee. Students will receive information about the appeals process upon notification of decision of request for disability housing accommodations.

Upon approval of a support Animal, the student’s roommate(s) or suitemate(s) will be notified (if applicable) to solicit their acknowledgement of the approval, and notify them that the approved animal will be residing in shared assigned living space. 

F. Conflicting Health Conditions

Campus Life/Residence Life personnel will make a reasonable effort to notify tenants in the residence building where the Approved Animal will be located.

Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Disability and/or Student Support Services if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a Service or Support Animal. The University is prepared to also reasonably accommodate individuals with such medical conditions that require accommodation when living in proximity to Service or Support Animals.

Disability and/or Student Support Services will resolve any conflict in a timely manner. Staff members will consider the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all persons involved. Disability and/or Student Support Services staff may use LIU Post’s Center for Healthy Living and/or LIU Brooklyn’s Campus Life as a resource for information on health issues. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached, Disability and/or Student Support Services’ decision is final and not subject to appeal. 

G. Owner’s Responsibilities in University Housing

  1. The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.
  2. The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage. The owner’s responsibility covers but is not limited to replacement of furniture, carpet, window, wall covering, and the like. The owner is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.
  3. The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to University premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence. The University shall have the right to bill the Student account of the owner for unmet obligations.
  4. The Owner must notify Disability and/or Student Support Services in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed as an Approved Animal or is no longer in residence. To replace an Approved Animal the owner must file a new Request for Reasonable Accommodation.
  5. The Owner's residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests once a semester or as needed. The applicable housing office for the residence hall will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a university-approved pest control service. The owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls.
  6. (For students in the Residence Halls and/or suite-style apartments) All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the Approved Animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates do not approve, either the owner and animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by the appropriate Housing office for the residence location, may be moved to a different location.
  7. Service Animals may travel freely with their owner throughout University Housing. Support Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness. When outside the residence, the owner of a Support Animal shall carry proof that the animal is an Approved Animal.
  8. Approved Animals may not be left overnight in University Housing to be cared for by another student. Animals must be taken with the student if they leave campus for a prolonged period.
  9. Campus Life/Residence Life personnel have the ability to relocate owner and Approved Animal as necessary according to current contractual agreements.
  10. The Owner agrees to continue to abide by all other residential policies. Reasonable accommodation which may constitute an exception to a policy that otherwise would prohibit having an animal does not constitute an exception to any other policy.
  11. Any violation of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from the University and may be reviewed through the LIU Community Standards Adjudication Process and the Owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.
  12. Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
  13. The Owner undertakes to comply with animal health and wellbeing requirements as set forth herein.
  14. All service or assistance animals must be neutered or spayed; must be vaccinated in accordance with local ordinances and regulations; animals, other than cats and dogs, must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian; and upon request, owner must provide the university with documentation showing that the animal has been licensed in accordance with New York law. 

LIU is not required to maintain any of the above requirements.

H. Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Animal at Long Island University

  1. Introduction
    The following guidelines apply to all Approved Animals and their owners, unless the nature of the documented disability of the owner precludes adherence to these guidelines, and permission for a variance from the guidelines has been granted.
  2. Care and Supervision
    Care and supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the individual who benefits from the Approved Animal's use. The person is required to maintain control of the animal at all times.
    The person is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must toilet the animal in areas designated by the University consistent with the reasonable capacity of the owner. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a study plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash dumpsters. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.
  3. Animal Health and Well-being
    1. Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Although not mandated, cats should have the normal shots required for a healthy animal. Local licensing requirements are followed.
    2. Health: Animals, other than cats and dogs, to be housed in university housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian's statement regarding the animal's health. The university has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention. (Local licensing law is followed.)
    3. Licensing: The university reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed (e.g., New York law requires that every dog be licensed and provides that service dogs are exempt from the license fee).
    4. Training: Service Animals must be properly trained.
    5. Leash: If appropriate the animal must be on a leash, unless the leash would inhibit the animal's ability to be of service.
    6. Spay/Neuter: Service or Support Animals must be spayed or neutered. Owner must provide verification of spaying/neutering from a licensed veterinarian
    7. Other Conditions: Disability and/or Student Support Services may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.

I. Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the University Community
Members of the University community are required to abide by the following practices:

  1. They are to allow a Service Animal to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus, except where animals are specifically prohibited.
  2. They are not to touch or pet a Service or Support Animal unless invited to do so.
  3. They are not to feed a Service or Support Animal.
  4. They are not to startle a Service or Support Animal, deliberately.
  5. They are not to separate or to attempt to separate an owner from his or her Service or Support Animal.
  6. They are not to inquire for details about the owner's disabilities. The nature of a person's disability is a private matter.

J. Removal of Approved Animal
The University may exclude/remove an Approved Animal when

  1. the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or
  2. the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the University's program, or
  3. the owner does not comply with Owner’s Responsibilities in University Housing, or
  4. the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the LIU community.

K. Damage 

Owners of Approved Animals are solely responsible for any damage sustained to persons or University property caused by their animals.

L. Possible Restricted Areas -Service Animals

The University may prohibit the use of Service Animals in certain locations because of health and safety restrictions (e.g. where the animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research). Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to, the following areas: custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary, wood and metal shops, motor pools, rooms with heavy machinery, and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting Disability and/or Student Support Services and the appropriate department representative; the person directing the restricted area has the final decision. 

M. Areas Off Limits to Assistance Animals

All areas except for privately assigned living space in housing are off limits to approved Support Animals without prior authorization from Disability and/or Student Support Services.