Any dog might be trained to assist an individual with a specific disability related need.* Guide dogs used by those with vision loss are the most commonly recognized. No licensing or certifying entity exists to legitimize the use of a service dog.
Rather, the need of the individual with a disability and the specific function the dog is trained to perform legitimize the use under federal and state laws.
Individuals who have obvious disabilities, such as blindness or quadriplegia, raise few questions. Those with hidden disabilities, hidden needs, such as hearing loss, epilepsy, autism, who use dogs may create questions.
- It is reasonable to question the presence of a dog by asking, “Is this a service dog required because of a disability?”
- It is reasonable to ask for a description of the specific function the animal is trained to perform, “What work or tasks has the dog been trained to perform?”
- It is NOT OK to ask the person to tell you the nature of the disability, require medical documentation, require a specific identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
For further inquiry, contact the Center for Students with Disabilities at 310-434-4265 voice or Campus Police 310-434-4300.
If the dog is disruptive to the learning environment or college events, directly aggressive or threatening, or not under the control of the handler at all times, then access by the individual with the animal will be prohibited with assistance from College Police, if necessary. Such access restriction should be referred to the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or designee.
*Note: Dogs and miniature horses are the only animals specified as services animals under federal law.