Service Animal Policy

It is the policy of Madison College that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on district campuses.

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. Per the ADA, a Madison College student is not required to provide an instructor an Accommodation Plan from DRS to have a service animal in the classroom.

  • 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.

    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?
    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 it's ability to perform the work or task.

    Although emotional support and comfort animals are not consid­ered service animals under the ADA, they may be considered as a necessary accommodation under Section 504. A Madison College student with a disability who wants to use a non-service animal on campus may request an accommodation via an interactive process with Disability Resource Services to determine what is appropriate and necessary. On a case-by-case basis, Madison College will engage with students via an interactive process to assess an individual’s need for the emotional support/comfort animal.

  • Types of Service Animals
    • Dog in Training: A dog being trained to perform as a service animal has the same rights as a fully-trained dog when accompanied by a trainer and identified as such.
    • 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.
    • Miniature Horse: Miniature horse service animals trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The animals range in height from 24 to 34 inches measured to the shoulders, and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds. The miniature horse must be housebroken and under the owner's control. Other factors to consider:
      • The facility must be able to accommodate the horse's type, size and weight
      • The horse's presence must not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility
    • 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. Some dogs have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person in advance.
  • Responsibilities of Individuals Using Service Animals
    • The owner must 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 and shedding.
    • The service animal must be toilet trained; the owner is responsible for the cleanup of animal waste.
    • The owner must use appropriate toilet areas for the service animal.
  • Service Animals in Teaching Laboratories

    If you anticipate working with a service animal in a laboratory at any time over the course of your enrollment at Madison College, we want to provide that opportunity without endangering the safety of you, your fellow students, or your animal.

    In order to achieve this goal, we will need to know the specifics of the service the animal provides, with enough advance notice to make the appropriate arrangements. Before you attend the first lab for a class, you must meet with the faculty member teaching the laboratory component of your course and a staff member from Disability Resource Services.

    It is highly recommended that you make arrangements for this meeting with plenty of notice (1-2 months before the start of your class is not too much!) so that all plans may be worked out without disrupting your class participation.

    During this meeting, you can expect to be asked questions including, but not limited to:

    • Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
    • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
    • Do you require the animal to be with you at all times or only under certain circumstances? What are those circumstances?
    • Do you need a place for the animal to stay while you are in lab and not needing the animal at that time?How does the animal alert?

    Additionally, there are a few other preparations you can make ahead of each course with a laboratory requirement.

    ►Personal protective equipment for your service animal
    Service animals are required to wear the same personal protective equipment covering as students in the lab. This means that you must acquire goggles, foot protection (though a protective mat will be provided for the animal’s safety during lab), and sturdy protective clothing for your service animal. We are happy to work with you to identify clothing materials that are well suited to the laboratory environment.

    ►Chemical safety information pertaining to your service animal
    It will be your responsibility to discuss with faculty and DRS any particular chemical hazards that may apply to your service animal.

    ►Chemical hazards and alternative assignments
    In some cases, lab exercises may involve use of chemicals that interfere (or run a reasonable risk of interfering) with your service animal’s ability to provide its service. In such cases, your instructor will work to provide you with an alternative assignment to minimize loss of instructional quality and keep you from losing any credit.

    ►Leashing/tethering of service animal
    Per Madison College policy, service animals will have to remain leashed or tethered at all times unless doing so prevents them from performing their necessary service or the individual’s disability prevents use of these devices.

    Adopted from UW Madison McBurney Center policy

  • Removal of Service Animal From Campus

    If a service animal becomes aggressive and poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, the student or campus visitor will be required immediately to remove the service animal from college property. This behavior includes excessive barking, running around without a leash, or growling/biting others. The student or campus visitor using the service animal is then expected to report such incidents to Disability Resource Services within 24 hours of the occurrence. 

    An excessively unclean or unkempt service animal may be asked to leave campus until the problem is resolved.

  • Restrictions

    There are certain areas that may be considered unsafe for the service dog and its partner, or where the presence of an animal might interfere with the safety of others (iLabs, machine rooms, kitchens and areas where protective clothing is necessary). Exceptions will 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 at (608) 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.