Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs and miniature horses are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. If an animal meet this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government training program.  Therapy, companion, emotional support animals and pets are not service animals according to the ADA definition, as they have not been individually trained to perform disability mitigating tasks.  Thus their handlers do not legally qualify for public access rights.

Miniature Horses

A miniature horse can be considered a service animal for use by an individual with a disability if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability subject to an assessment of the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the facility can accommodate these features. The same provisions that apply to service dogs also apply to miniature horses.

Appropriate inquiries about service animal

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed:   (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (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 its ability to perform the work or task. Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.

Requirements of Service Animals and their Partners/Handlers

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. Exclusions of service dogs are determined on an individualized basis and when one of the following conditions exist:

  • The dog is disruptive and not effectively controlled
  • The presence of the service dog would fundamentally change the nature of the job, service, or activity
  • The service dogs' presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property and/or the health or safety of others
  • The dog is not housebroken

Under the ADA, service animals are allowed to accompany individuals with disabilities in all areas of the institution where students are normally allowed to go.  There may be some areas of the university that restrict the admittance of service animals.  Access to these areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis and requests for access should be addressed to the Disability Support Services.


Vaccination- The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal.  Dogs must have had the general maintenance vaccine series, which includes vaccinations against rabies, distemper and parvovirus.  Other animals must have had the appropriate vaccination series for the type of animal.  All vaccinations must be current.  Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag.

Licensing- Will be in accordance with The City of Billings.

Health- The animal must be in good health.  Animals to be housed in University Housing must have a clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.

Leash- The animal must be on a leash at all times.

Clean-up Rule-

  1. Always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces.
  2. Properly dispose of feces.

*Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animals may not be required to pick up and dispose of feces.  However, whenever possible please ask a person nearby to assist you.

Under Control of Partner/Handler- The partner/handler must be in full control of the animal at all times.  The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler.


Any partner dissatisfied with a decision made concerning a service animal should follow MSUB’s published grievance procedures.

Complaints about animals on campus may be addressed with University Police at 657-2147.


Adapted from the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division 2010 Revised Requirements.


Back to Top