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Service Animals

Service Animals

It is the policy of the University of Washington to provide individuals with disabilities requiring the use of a service animal an equal opportunity to access University property, courses, programs, and activities.

A service animal is an animal trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, mental, psychological, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. Service animals do not always have a harness, sign, or symbol indicating that they are service animals. Washington State defines a service animal as a dog or in some cases a miniature horse per the updated Washington State definition of a service animal, effective January 1, 2019.


Academic and General Environments

Service animals are permitted in any buildings or locations where the student with a disability is allowed access.  Students who use service animals are not required to register the animal with the University.  Students may, however, contact their designated disability services office for assistance with proactively informing other University employees – such as faculty, advisors, or building coordinators – that the service animal is granted access.

Housing Environments

Requests to use service animals in University housing must be made through the appropriate housing office or designated disability services office.

For more information, please contact:


Workplace Environments

Employees who use a service animal and intend to bring them into the work place will need to gain access by requesting an accommodation. Employees should contact the local HR resource or Disabiltiy Services Office (DSO) to get this process started.

Members of the Public & Patients

Members of the general public and their service animals may generally go wherever access to the public is granted, although there may be exceptions based on the use of the space (i.e. biologically sensitive sites, operating rooms). For campus specific information, please contact the designated disability office:

Rights and Responsibilities

Service animal owner’s responsibilities

The service animal’s owner is responsible for:

  • Keeping the animal under direct control at all times
  • Ensuring that the animal is not disruptive
  • Cleaning up after the animal immediately and disposing of waste and debris promptly
  • Dealing with any damage or injury caused by the service animal

Service animal owner’s rights

University employees must allow a service animal to enter a facility with its owner when it is readily apparent that the animal is trained to perform tasks for the individual. If the need is not apparent, only the following two questions may be asked:

  • Is the service animal required because of a disability?
  • What tasks has the animal been trained to perform?

The following may not be requested:

  • Information on the nature of the individual’s disability
  • Medical information
  • Documentation or proof that the animal is a service animal
  • Demonstration of the animal’s ability to perform tasks

If there is any doubt that an animal is required because of a disability, the animal should be permitted to enter into the facility with its owner, and then the ADA Coordinator should be contacted.

Service Animals in Training

Service animals in training may be permitted, but are not entitled to, the same access as service animals within University buildings. The University employee with authority over the building area (per Administrative Policy Statement 13.4) has the discretion whether to permit access to service animals in training, additional access to a UW class may need further approval. Any individual interested in bringing a service animal in training on University property is responsible for complying with the Service Animal Policy and Chapter 478-128 WAC.


Training & Resources

Complaint Reporting

Concerns regarding service animals can be directed to the ADA Coordinator, who is responsible for conducting the necessary assessments regarding service animals for all University locations. Phone (206) 543-9717 or email (If there is an immediate risk of danger to people or property dial 911.)

The University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) is responsible for investigating complaints that a University employee has violated the University’s policies relating to the ADA/Rehabilitation Act and relevant federal, state, and local laws.

Complaints may also be filed with the following state or federal agencies: