4-21: Service and Other Animals on Campus – Policy

Policy Overview

In compliance with federal and state law, Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) recognizes its responsibility to extend equal access to individuals with disabilities who use a Service Animal.  This policy establishes the guidelines for Service Animals and other animals on SFCC campus.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all individuals requiring authorization to bring animals to campus.

Policy Statement

Students, employees, contractors and members of the public are prohibited from bringing animals on campus except Service Animals and dogs brought on campus to attend an approved dog obedience class or other animals for pre-approved educational training or other SFCC events.

A Service Animal may accompany a student or a member of the public with a disability when using SFCC facilities. In order to determine whether the animal is a Service Animal, employees of the College may inquire as to (1) whether the animal is a Service Animal and (2) as to the tasks the Service Animal has been trained to perform.

The Service Animal must remain in the control of the owner at all times while on campus. Employees with disabilities who believe that the use of a Service Animal is necessary to reasonably accommodate their disability must contact the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to begin an interactive process regarding use of the Service Animal on campus.

Campus Safety and Security may contact local animal control officials if an animal is observed in an unattended vehicle or wandering on campus.

A dog that is not a Service Animal may be brought on campus to attend an approved dog obedience class or, for other pre-approved educational training/SFCC sponsored event.

An animal, not designated as a Service Animal, may be brought on campus for teaching purposes with prior authorization of the President.


  1. Disability A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record (or past history) of such an impairment; or being regarded as having a disability, as defined by federal law.
  2. Service Animals Dogs, except as otherwise specified, that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 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. A Service Animal in training is a Service Animal for the purposes of this policy.

Policy Process

A. For a Service Animal to be a reasonable accommodation for a disabled SFCC employee, the following criteria must be met:

1. the employee must have a disability as defined under federal law;
2. the animal must meet the definition of Service Animal under federal law and serve a function directly related to the disability; and
3. the request to have the Service Animal must be reasonable and not cause SFCC an undue hardship.

B. For students and the general public, a Service Animal shall be permitted in any area of the College that is unrestricted (not off limits to Service Animals due to codes or regulations) to students or visitors. The College will take appropriate action to address violations of this policy, up to and including disciplinary action or removal from College property.

C. Inquiries by College Employees

1. A Service Animal must be trained to provide specific support services to the individual with a disability.
2. When it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g. a dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision or pulling a person’s wheelchair), SFCC employees should not make otherwise allowable inquiries.
3. If it is not readily apparent, College employees shall not ask about the nature or extent of the individual’s disability, but may ask

a. if the animal is required because of a disability and
b. what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

4. College employees cannot ask for documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a Service Animal.

D. Responsibilities for the Care and Supervision of Service Animals

1. Individuals with Service Animals are responsible for managing and handling their Service Animals at all times while on SFCC property, maintaining proper infection control measures, and are responsible for the behavior and activities of the animal.
2. The individual is personally responsible for any damages to a facility caused by his/her Service Animal, including if the individual is an SFCC student whose Service Animal has caused damage in a classroom or anywhere else on College property. Service Animals on College property must be:

a. Licensed and vaccinated in accordance with applicable state, county, or local laws or ordinances pertaining to the Service Animal;
b. in good health and well groomed;
c. housebroken (the individual with the disability is responsible for the proper disposal of any Service Animal waste); and d. harnessed, leashed, or otherwise under the control of the individual with a disability (e.g. voice control, signals, or other effective means) such that the Service Animal does not disrupt or interfere with the ability of other users of the space or activity.

E. Removal of Service Animal

1. An individual with a disability may be asked to remove the animal from the College only if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it or the animal is not housebroken.
2. A history of allergies or fear of animals are generally not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to individuals with Service Animals; however all situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
3. If after careful evaluation removal is necessary, College employees should consider an alternative option for the individual to obtain access to SFCC.

F. Students

1. A student who seeks to bring a Service Animal into an SFCC classroom, laboratory, or other learning environment is required to register with SFCC’s Office of Disability Services.

G. Appeal a Decision

1. Any person dissatisfied with a decision concerning a Service Animal can contact the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs who will collaborate with the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Director of the Office of Disability Services, the Office of Human Resources and any other appropriate College resources to address individual concerns.

Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action

  1. The College will take appropriate action to address violations of this policy, up to and including disciplinary action or removal from College property in accordance with this policy, Policy 4-2 Employee Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action and Policy 2-2 Student Corrective Action and Disciplinary Action. The discipline imposed will depend on the severity of the violation and the circumstances of the situation.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Executive Director for Human Resources and the Office of Human Resources (OHR), shall be responsible for enforcing Human Resources procedures and policies. OHR shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.


RL/RJK SFCC Governing Board approved: 09/24/09
(POLICY APPROVAL: Original approval date: 09/28/06, SFCC Governing Board)
Revised: 07/20/09
Revised and SFCC Governing Board approved: 6/24/15