/ Equal Opportunity and Compliance

Animal Policy

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Policy Statement
  3. Reason for Policy
  4. Entities Affected by This Policy
  5. Who Should Read This Policy
  6. Related Documents
  7. Contacts
  8. Definitions
  9. Procedures
    1. Determining if an animal is a service animal
    2. Service animals on campus
    3. Requesting an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation for a disability for students
    4. Requesting an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation for a disability for employees
    5. Criteria for determining if the presence of an assistance animal is reasonable
    6. Denying access or animal removal
    7. Emergency situations
    8. Actions to be taken for violating the Animal Policy and Procedures for students
    9. Actions to be taken for violating the Animal Policy and Procedures for employees
    10. Grievance procedure
  10. Forms
  11. Effective Date
  12. Revision/Policy History

I. Overview

Hope College promotes a campus culture where each person can flourish. In that regard, we are committed to the personal, intellectual and spiritual growth of all members of our community. Hope College recognizes that animals may provide distinctive value or specific services to students, faculty, staff, visitors and members of the community.

Hope College expects everyone to observe Hope College policy regarding animals on campus. This policy encompasses all Federal law and State of Michigan and Holland Township rules and regulations regarding animals and in the event that those rules or regulations change, regardless of the status of this policy, expects those to be followed as well.

This policy applies to all on-campus buildings, facilities and grounds.

II. Policy Statement

Hope College buildings and facilities are pet-free, with few exceptions. [1] To maintain the security and well-being of campus constituents, Hope College regulates domesticated animals on college property in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act (FHA).There are four basic types of animals that may be found on campus grounds. The four types of animals include service animals, assistance animals, work animals and companion animals (see section VIII below for definitions). Most animals must be approved and registered with an appropriate office. Service animals are an exception to this requirement for students, faculty/staff or visitors who do not reside in college housing.

III. Reason for Policy

This policy and procedures are established to clearly define regulations about animals on college property in consideration of health and safety principles.

A person with an animal must be in full control of the animal at all times. It is expected that the owner follows all applicable local ordinances, city, state, and federal laws in addition to this policy. The City of Holland [2] and Hope College requires animals to be leashed at all times when outdoors. Persons with approved animals in campus housing must have the animal leashed and under control any time they leave the owner’s living space. The care and supervision of the animal is the sole responsibility of its owner. The animal must be maintained and used at all times in ways that do not create safety hazards for other persons.

The owner of the Animal is financially responsible for the actions of the animal including bodily injury or property damage including, but not limited to, any replacement of furniture, carpet, wall coverings, etc. This could include extensive damage to floors and carpets from animal paws which are not kept clean. The owner is expected to cover any costs upon repair and/or cleaning. The owner may be asked to remove the animal. Depending on the extent of damage, the Institution reserves the right to ask the owner to move out if the damage is deemed excessive and/or the result of negligence. Any costs incurred for cleaning above and beyond a normal cleaning or repair would then be assessed after vacating the premises. The person with the animal is responsible to remove their animal’s feces from their designated relief area.

IV. Entities Affected by this Policy

Persons covered by this policy include employees, students, applicants for employment, persons employed on the premises of the College as independent contractors, vendors and persons participating in or attending College-sponsored programs and visitors.

V. Who Should Read This Policy

  • Students
  • Employees
  • Applicants
  • Vendors/contractors
  • Community guests/visitors

VI. Related Documents

VII. Contacts

Policy Owner

Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office

Charged with Enforcement

VIII. Definitions

  • Assistance Animals: Assistance animals are not pets. Assistance animals could be a trained service animal, or they could be other animals that do work, perform tasks, assist, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities that affect major life activities. Reference to assistance animals in this policy is in regards to the the second type of assistance animal.
  • Companion Animals: Companion animals are those animals that are generally referred to as pets and are kept for companionship or leisure time activities. They may not be trained to perform any specific kind of task and they are not owned specifically to assist with a mental or physical impairment or disability. Pets or companion animals are prohibited from indoor public areas such as, but not limited to, classrooms, offices, dining halls, and meeting areas. For students, this prohibition extends to residence halls or other campus housing with the exception of fish, which are limited to a tank no larger than 20 gallons. For employees, pets may be approved for employees living on campus with prior approval from a supervisor.
  • Service Animals: Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as any dog, or in rare cases, a miniature horse, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
  • Work Animals: Work animals are those brought onto college property for educational or research purposes or to perform a service, such as animals brought in for therapeutic stress relief during finals week. Work animals might also include animals brought onto college property by a third party to perform a task such as an animal used in pest control or a police dog used in law enforcement efforts. Animals used for education or research are governed by the Animal Care and Use Committee. Animals brought to campus for therapeutic purposes may be arranged by various Hope College departments including Counseling and Psychological Services, but will only utilize animals that are trained as therapy animals and registered with a reputable animal therapy organization.
  • Zoonotic diseases: Infectious diseases that are directly transmitted from animals to humans.

IX. Procedures

A. Determining if an animal is a service animal

It is not always apparent whether a dog is a service dog, but the ADA regulates what types of inquiries can be made regarding service animals. The ADA permits individuals to ask only two questions:

  1. if the dog is needed for a disability;
  2. what work or task the dog has been trained to perform.

It is not permissible to inquire about the person's disability or medical documentation, nor is it acceptable to require proof of the dog’s certification or ask that the dog execute the trained task. These questions may not be asked if the need for the service animal is obvious.

There are individuals and organizations that sell service animal certification or registration documents online. These documents do not convey any rights under the ADA and the Department of Justice does not recognize them as proof that the dog is a service animal.

Individuals accompanied by a service animal are strongly encouraged, but are not required to connect with Disability and Accessibility Resources (students) or Human Resources (employees). Visitors who have questions about bringing a service animal to campus can contact the ADA Coordinator.

B. Service animals on campus

Service animals are considered an extension of an individual and are therefore allowed anywhere the handler is allowed to go, with few exceptions. Exceptions may include, but are not limited to, areas where service animals are specifically prohibited due to safety or health restrictions, where the service animal may be in danger, or where the service animal’s use may compromise the integrity of research.

  1. Visitors: Visitors to campus with service animals may access all public facilities, with the exception of areas mentioned above.

  2. Employees: Employees with a disability who wish to utilize a service animal on campus are encouraged, but not required, to register with Human Resources (HR). Employees are encouraged to register with HR for access to resources, information, and advocacy around a range of disability-related dynamics, including service animals.

    Employees who wish to train a service animal using campus offices and/or buildings must make the request with Human Resources (HR). Neither the ADA nor the State of Michigan grant service rights to individuals training a service dog and therefore the animal must be approved by HR prior to coming on campus. Because a service animal in training does not have any rights under ADA or Michigan law, the trainer should carry paperwork and have specific permission to take the dog-in-training into any enclosed space.

  3. Students: Students with a disability who wish to utilize a service animal in a classroom are encouraged but not required to register with Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR). Students are encouraged to register with DAR for access to resources, information, and advocacy around a range of disability-related dynamics, including service animals.

    If the service animal resides in campus housing, the student will be required to complete the procedures outlined in the Assistance and Service Animal Guidelines.

C. Requesting an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation for a disability for students

The procedure for students to request an accommodation of an assistance animal requires the following steps:

  1. Submission of a Request for Accessibility Accommodations form to Disability and Accessibility Resources.
  2. Participation in an interactive process including face to face interview and review of medical documentation.
  3. Students are notified by email of a determination for a request. Requests are either approved; approved with modifications; or denied.
  4. If approved, students are referred to Student Development to complete the registration process as outlined in the Assistance and Service Animal Guidelines.

D. Requesting an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation for a disability for employees

The procedure for employees to request an accommodation of an assistance animal requires the following steps:

  1. Submission of a request to Human Resources.
  2. Participation in an interactive process including face to face interview and review of medical documentation.
  3. Employees are notified by email of a determination for a request. Requests are either granted; granted with modifications; or denied.
  4. If granted, employees will meet with an employee in Human Resources to review steps needed to bring the animal to campus.

E. Criteria for determining if the presence of an assistance animal is reasonable

Assistance animals are considered reasonable accommodations for a disability and must be approved through the procedure outlined in the Reasonable Accommodation on the Basis of Disability Policy (in development). Assistance animals are not protected under the ADA [3] and are not permitted in indoor public areas such as classrooms, residence hall community spaces, dining halls, computer labs, offices, or other non-residential campus facilities. When an assistance animal is approved in compliance with the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, they are permitted in residential hall rooms, apartments, or other campus housing to include a route through a community space.
During review of the request, the College may also consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of an assistance animal is reasonable in college owned residential facilities:

  • The animal poses health risks from zoonotic diseases or safety concerns regarding containment that cannot be sufficiently mitigated for inclusion in the communal living setting.
  • The animal meets all local and state laws and ordinances.
  • Species, age and number of assistance animal(s); including unusual species.
    • Individuals approved for assistance animals are allowed one animal except in extenuating circumstances.
    • Assistance animals are generally domesticated animals that are traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than commercial purposes such as a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, etc. [4]
    • Certain unusual animals pose unavoidable safety and/or public health concerns. Snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders fall into this category of animals. The release of such an animal could result in a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals living in the residence. These animals will generally not be approved as an assistance animal.
  • The size of the animal is too large for available assigned housing space based on animal welfare regulations.
  • The animal's presence would force another individual from housing and/or office and alternative arrangements are not possible (e.g. serious allergies).
  • The animal's presence otherwise violates individuals' right to peace and quiet enjoyment.
  • The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner.
  • The animal's vaccinations are not up-to-date or the animal is not of an age to be fully vaccinated.
  • The animal is not spayed or neutered.
  • The animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the individual or others.
  • The animal causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear.

F. Denying Access or Animal Removal

Per federal regulations, Hope College reserves the right to deny access to campus properties or require an owner or handler to remove their animal from campus properties if the animal behaves in an unacceptable way. Unacceptable behavior may include, but is not limited to:

  • Uncontrolled barking, whining, growling or making other distracting noises.
  • Uncontrolled jumping on, nudging, lunging at, sniffing or licking other people.
  • Regularly escaping from the handler or overpowering the handler.
  • Regularly begging for or taking food not freely offered by others.
  • Destroying college property or the property of others on campus.
  • Urinating or defecating indoors or in inappropriate areas.
  • Behaviors that pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Hope College may also deny access or require an owner or handler to remove their animal if the owner or handler has failed to care properly for their animal and the lack of care becomes a distraction to the point of interfering with normal business or academic activities. For example, an animal may be removed if an owner allows their animal to become unclean and the odor prevents the professor or other students from being able to focus on the lesson. In rare cases, Hope College may refer to local authorities if a owner or handler has not adequately cared for an animal to the point of violating Michigan Penal Code Act 238. [5] Hope College may also deny access of certain species of animals dependant on current Holland Township Ordinances. [6]

Concerns about the behavior of the animal or the owner/handler will be addressed through the Student Conduct process (for students) or through an investigation by Human Resources (for employees). Violations of policy constitute grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or enrolled student status. Disciplinary consequences are set forth in the Student or Employee Handbooks.

When a service animal is denied access or removed pursuant to this policy, Hope College will make efforts to reasonably accommodate the owner or handler such that they may continue to participate in the program or activity without the service animal present.

G. Emergency Situations

In emergency or evacuation situations, Hope College and/or emergency responders will make every effort to keep the service animal with its owner or handler. However, priority will be given to the safety of the owner and may necessitate leaving the animal behind in certain emergency situations.

H. Actions to be taken for violating the Animal Policy and Procedures for students

If a student is suspected of violating the Animal Policy or the Student Handbook, the College will perform an investigation through Judicial Affairs to determine the appropriate course of action.

I. Actions to be taken for violating the Animal Policy and Procedures for employees

Violations of the Animal Policy or an employee handbook constitute grounds for disciplinary action that may include removal of the animal or other disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment. Disciplinary consequences are set forth in the Employee Handbooks.

J. Grievance Procedure

For grievances or concerns about this process and/or an accommodation decision, see the Accommodation Grievance Procedure outlined in the Reasonable Accommodation Policy.

X. Forms

For students

XI. Effective Date

August 2020

XII. Revision/Policy History

It is strongly recommended that this policy be reviewed every two years to ensure that it accurately reflects institutional policy, procedures, programs and campus safety plan.

Next Review/Revision Date:
August 2022


NOTES:

  1. Employees living on campus may have pets with prior approval from their supervisor. Students are allowed to have fish in campus housing per the Student Handbook.
  2. Ordinance No. 804; Ordinance No. 1346, 8-7-2002.
  3. Except under Title I as a reasonable accommodation for employment.
  4. https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUDAsstAnimalNC1-28-2020.pdf
  5. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(mhs2n0fbkrlhvbfknkcmy2xy))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-750-50
  6. Appendix A; Article 3; Sec. 3.18: Keeping of animals. The keeping as household pets of cats, dogs, household fish, household birds, hamsters and other animals generally regarded as household pets is expressly permitted as an accessory use; provided, however, that no more than four (4) adult dogs or cats or any combination thereof shall be kept or housed in or at one (1) dwelling unit. The keeping of any other animals, poultry, fish or reptiles in any zoning district except the A zoning district is prohibited except when authorized by the building inspector.