Administrative Policies

AD66 Service Animal Policy

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Alan Finnecy, 814-863-0471,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff



To establish guidelines for the proper use of service animals at University facilities.


This policy applies to all facilities owned, leased and/or under the control of The Pennsylvania State University excluding Hershey Medical Center, the College of Medicine, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology. 


It is the policy of the University that service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs, except as described below.


“Service animal” is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA), as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to: guiding individuals with impaired vision; alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds; providing minimal protection or rescue work; pulling a wheelchair; or fetching dropped items. (28 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 36, Subpart A – General, 36.104 Definitions).

If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA, regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.


A service animal may be removed from a Penn State facility or program if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, a service animal that displays vicious behavior towards people may be excluded. Excessive barking in a classroom or during a program is an example of disruption.

Service animals may also be excluded in areas where the presence of a service animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity, or is disruptive. Examples may include, but are not limited to: research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, food preparation areas, and animal research labs.

Questions related to the use of service animals on campus should be directed to the ADA Coordinator at 814-863-0471.



Students with disabilities who desire to use a service animal on campus, including in classrooms, are encouraged, but not required, to contact Student Disability Resources (SDR).  Contacting SDR will provide access to disability-related resources, information, and support.  Students can reach SDR at 814-863-1807 or visit the SDR Website.  For use of a service animal by a resident or prospective resident in University housing, see:


Employees with disabilities who desire to use a service animal in offices or areas of campus not open to the general public, must follow Policy HR09, Reasonable Accommodations for University Employees.  Employee requests for reasonable accommodations, including requests to have a service animal at work, are handled through the ADA Coordinator within the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access who can be reached at 814-863-0471 or


Service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the public (except in situations determined to apply as stated in "When Service Animals May Be Removed or Prohibited," above). Specific questions related to the use of service animals on the Penn State campus by visitors can be directed to the ADA Coordinator via e-mail at or by phone at 814-863-0471 voice and relay.


Service animals must comply with all applicable Pennsylvania dog laws. Information related to licensing, ID tags, vaccinations, rabies and other requirements under Pennsylvania Dog Law.  

Leash: Dogs and must be on a leash at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to owner/keeper’s disability.

Under Control: The owner/keeper of a service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of owner/keeper.

Cleanup Rule: The owner/keeper of a service animal must ensure cleaning up of any Penn State property the animal might soil.

Health: Animals to be housed in University Housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.

Service Dogs in Training: Under Pennsylvania law, individuals with disabilities who use guide or support animals, or trainers of such animals, are entitled to equal opportunity in all aspects of employment and education, as well as equal access to and treatment in all public accommodations, and any housing accommodation or commercial property without discrimination. Violation of this law may result in an award of damages or other remedies pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. 43 P.S. § 953.


U.S. Department of Justice, Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act

Pennsylvania dog law citations:

  • Citation: PA ST 3 P.S. § 459-101 - 1205; PA ST 3 P.S. § 501, 531 - 532, 550 - 551; PA ST 34 Pa.C.S.A. § 2381 - 2386
  • Citation: 3 P.S. § 459-101 - 1205; 3 P.S. § 501, 531 - 532, 550 - 551; 34 Pa.C.S.A. § 2381 - 2386

Guidance on Service Animals in Public Places


Access and Disability Issues

HR09 - Reasonable Accommodation for University Employees

SY07 - Governing Control of Animals on University Property

Most recent changes:

  • December 10, 2018 - Editorial changes under the Students (changed "register with Student Disability Resources" to "contact Student Disability Resources") and Employees (removed "University setting") sections of Using a Service Animal on Campus. 

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • September 18, 2018 - Editorial changes: Changed title of Request for Accomodations section to Using a Service Animal on Campus; revised language in the Student section within this area; and slightly revised the language in the Employee section within this area.
  • October 5, 2017 - Editorial changes to update Office for Disability Services (ODS) to Student Disability Resources; contact phone number and website link also updated.
  • March 31, 2010 - New Policy.

Date Approved: 

March 31, 2010

Date Published: 

March 31, 2010

Effective Date: 

March 31, 2010