Service Animals & Emotional Support Animals in Higher Education:

Guidance for Faculty, Staff and Students

Animals are prohibited in the campus buildings, housing, athletic fields or parks on the campus of the University of California, Irvine.  However, UC Irvine acknowledges that, at times, animals play a vital role in the disability management of individuals with both visible and hidden disabilities.  

Service animal means 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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals 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.

University Faculty, Staff or Students may ask two questions of a person with an animal:  (1) Is the animal required because of a disability? (2) What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? Generally, staff will not make inquiries about a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).

Emotional Support Animals provide emotional support, wellbeing, comfort, or companionship.  The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.  

A service or emotional support animal shall be under the control of its handler. The animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means). UC Irvine is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. The University will make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability.

University staff may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service or emotional support animal from the premises if: (1) The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does not take effective action to control it; or (2) The animal is not housebroken.  If UC Irvine properly excludes a service animal, the individual with a disability shall have the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service animal on the premises.

Any individual who is adversely affected by the presence of a service animal or emotional support animal (i.e. severe allergies) should immediately contact the Disability Services Center, who will provide a reasonable accommodation.  Please contact the Disability Services Center with any questions.

Services Animals at UCI