Disability Laws & Policies

Service Animals

Madison College Service Animal Policy

Service Dog with a person in a wheel chairIt is the policy of Madison College that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on district campuses. Requests for service animals at Madison College will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The purpose of these procedures is to ensure that students with disabilities who have service animals can participate in and benefit from district services, programs and activities and to ensure that the district does not discriminate on the basis of disability as identified in Titles I and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA authorizes places of public accommodation to impose restrictions if it is a safety requirement.

Service Animal Definition

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. An animal that is used to provide an emotionally supportive therapeutic service for a student does not meet the definition of a Service Animal.

Types of Service Dogs

  • Guide Dog: professionally trained to serve as a travel tool for persons who are blind or have severe visual impairments.
  • Hearing Dog: professionally trained to alert a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf, when a particular sound occurs.
  • Service Dog: professionally trained to assist a person who has a mobility or health impairment. 
  • SIG Dog: professionally trained to assist a person with autism. The dog alerts the partner to distracting repetitive movements and may provide support similar to that provided by a dog for a person who is vision or hearing impaired.
  • Seizure Response Dog: professionally trained to assist a person with a seizure disorder; how the dog serves the person depends on the person’s needs. The dog may stand guard over the person during a seizure or the dog may go for help. A few dogs have somehow learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.

Responsibilities of Individuals Using Service Animal

  • Provide proof of current rabies vaccinations
  • The service animal is in a harness or on a leash at all times
  • The service animal is under control and behaves properly at all times
  • The supervision of the service animal is the responsibility of its owner
  • Regular bathing of the service animal is expected to avoid odor/shedding
  • Animal must be toilet trained; owner is responsible for the clean up of animal waste
  • Use appropriate toilet areas


There are certain areas that may be considered unsafe for the service dog and its partner, or where the presence of animal might interfere with the safety of others (i.e. labs, machine rooms, kitchen-areas where protective clothing is necessary). Exceptions would have to be made on a case-by-case basis. If it is determined that an area is unsafe, reasonable accommodations will be provided to assure equal access to the student.

Best Practice

Some individuals may have adverse reactions to a service dog due to allergies. If these circumstances arise, resolution of the complaint will take into consideration the needs of both parties and be as prompt as possible.

Appeals and Grievances

Questions related to the use of service animals at Madison College should be directed to the Director of Disability Resource Services, 246-6791. If you are dissatisfied with a decision concerning a service animal and would like to appeal the decision, please go to the Appeals Process page.