Service Animal Policy

University of Massachusetts Policy on Service and Assistance Animals

Effective June 2019 ;

I. Policy Statement 

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (“University”) allows individuals to bring animals on University property in accordance with federal laws and in other situations subject to the rules outlined in this policy.

A service animal is permitted on campus grounds and within university buildings, including the University housing assignment provided to an individual with a disability. This practice follows Titles II and III of the American with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA).

An assistance animal is permitted on campus grounds to accompany an individual into their University assigned residence in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. However, an assistance animal is not allowed to accompany the individual into their residential dining center or into any other University building.  Assistance animals include emotional support animals, therapy animals, etc.

Animals not governed by this policy are referenced in Sec. VII.E below.

II. Reason for Policy 

The University supports the use of service and assistance animals on campus in compliance with applicable federal and state laws. At the same time, it recognizes the health and safety risks potentially created by unrestrained animals on campus. This policy sets forth roles and responsibilities of individuals bringing animals on campus. 

III. Scope & Audience 

This policy applies to employees, students, University affiliates, visitors, contractors, and applicants for admission to or employment with the University.

This policy should not be read to grant an individual access to University property beyond that to which they would normally be granted.

IV. Definitions (specific to this policy) 

Assistance Animal:

an animal that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling when there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the person’s disability and the assistance the animal provides.

Person With A Disability:

an individual with a disability is a person with a physical or cognitive or emotional impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.

Service Animal:

a dog or miniature horse individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, and alerting/protecting a person who is having a seizure. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of defining a service animal.

Service Animal in Training:

a dog or miniature horse undergoing training by an approved trainer who is an agent of an organization generally recognized by agencies involved in the rehabilitation of persons who are disabled as reputable and competent to provide training for service animals, and/or their handlers.

V. Website (for policy) 

VI. Contacts 

Kerri Tillett

ADA Coordinator

Phone: 413-545-3464



Services for Employees with Disabilities

Phone:  413-545-1842




Services for Students with Disabilities

Phone: 413-545-0892



Environmental Health & Safety

Phone: 413-545-2682



University Housing

Phone: 413-545-2100




VII. Responsibilities & Procedures 

Animals are permitted on campus grounds and in some cases, into University buildings, providing the animal’s owner follows federal, state and local laws and those rules covered in this policy. Provisions for service and assistance animals in campus buildings are also covered below.

A.  Animals on Campus Grounds

Dogs and cats brought to campus must have a valid license as evidence of current rabies vaccinations or they may be subject to removal from campus.

  1. Animals brought on campus must be under the complete control of the owner at all times and present no hazard to people or property. The wearing of a muzzle by a dog shall not be regarded as control by its owner.  Animal owners must clean up after them.
  2. Animals on campus grounds must:
    1. be securely confined in a vehicle, cage, or similar restrictive conveyance, or
    2. be secured to a leash, cord, chain, or similar direct physical control of a maximum length of six (6) feet, the other end of which is restrained by a person. If this constraint interferes with a service animal's work or if the individual's disability prevents using these devices the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. When a student is not in their room/apartment, the animal must be crated or in its cage.  Physical constraint of the animal does not apply to a service animal kept within an individual’s University housing assignment.
  3. Animals must not be tethered to a stationary fixture or tree, or left unattended on campus. Service and assistance animals may be left unattended within the confines of the owner's university residence.
  4. The University may take reasonable efforts to remove an animal confined in a vehicle when there appears to be imminent danger to the animal due to inadequate ventilation or temperature conditions. The University is not liable for any associated repair/damage costs to the vehicle for this action and the animal’s owner assumes full responsibility.
  5. The University retains the right to take action to remove any animal from University premises if the safety of others, destruction of property, or disturbance warrants such removal. The removal of any animal and any necessary cleaning, repairs, and/or pest control will be done at the expense of the owner. The owner may also be subject to disciplinary action. This action may also extend to cases involving service and assistance animals.
  6. In all cases, the owner of the animal is responsible for the animal’s behavior.
  7. In general, animals other than service and assistance animals are not permitted into University buildings except animals not governed by this policy as noted in Sec VII.E.

B. Service Animals on Campus

  1. In accordance with law, the University permits service animals into campus buildings where other animals would typically not be permitted.  
  2. Criteria for Service Animals in Campus Buildings
    1. The service animal must have been trained as a service animal in the work or tasks directly related to the person’s disability.
    2. Individuals are permitted to bring their service animal in all University buildings and any place of public accommodation. This includes any University housing assigned to the individual after following approval steps referred to in Sec. VII.3.iii below. The only exception for service animal access is in vivariums and research labs containing animals. A human assistant will be provided to the individual.
  3. Procedures for Registering to Have an Animal in a University Building: Students and employees with service animals or service animals in training are encouraged but not required to register their animal.  Assistance animals must be registered in advance in order to allow them in the residence halls. 

C. Service Animals in Training on Campus

An individual with a service animal in training may enter University buildings with the animal, provided:

  • the individual is an approved trainer who is an agent of an organization recognized as reputable and competent to provide such training;
  • the animal is adequately under control of the trainer as per Sec. VII.A.2 above

D.  Assistance Animals on Campus​

In accordance with federal law, the University permits an individual with a disability to keep an assistance animal within their University housing assignment and on University grounds.

  1. An individual may not bring their assistance animal into other University buildings, including the dining facilities.  An assistance animal is not allowed to accompany a University employee into their workplace, or any other University building, unless that building is the employee’s assigned University residence and has been approved by Accessible Workplace.

  2. Criteria for Assistance Animals in University Housing
    1. Typically, an assistance animal is prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health professional and is an integral part of a person’s treatment process. Procedures for Obtaining Approval for the Use of a Assistance  Animal Within University Housing
    2. Students and employees seeking approval for use of a assistance animal within University housing must follow the steps outlined on the following webpages:
    3. An individual may appeal the decision to the University ADA Compliance Officer should their request for a assistance animal in housing be denied.

    E. Animals Not Governed by this Policy

          This policy does not apply to the following animals:

    • Animals involved in authorized research
    • K-9 animal (police dog)
    • Animals being temporarily held by Environmental Health and Safety (“EH&S”)
    • Fish contained in aquariums
    • PAWS Program
    • Animals used for performance on premises or involved in a University sponsored activity, such as mascots. 
    • Pets owned by Faculty-in-Residence and Residence Directors
      • Residential Life manages requests related to a assistance animal within the student’s University housing assignment and for faculty or staff residing in University housing.
  3. VIII. Enforcement

    Should a request for an animal accommodation be denied, an individual may appeal the decision to the University ADA Compliance Officer.  Complaints regarding animals on campus can be directed to Environment Health & Safety by calling 413-545-2682. Complaints in the residence halls should be directed to a Resident Assistant or Residence Director.

    VIII. Forms & Tools 

    Register with Disability Services

    Employee Request for Accommodation

    Residence Hall Request for Assistance Animal

    Animal in Residence Registration Form  (required for Assistance Animals/requested for Service Animals)

    IX. Related Information 

    UMass Disability Services on Service Animals
    UMass Disability Services on Assistance Animals
    ADA Requirements for Service Animals

    Massachusetts Animal Cruelty Laws
    Town of Amherst Animal Welfare Bylaws (Pg. 24)

    Nearest 24 Hour Animal Hospital
    Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital
    141 Greenfield Rd
    South Deerfield, MA 01373
    (413) 665-4911

    Local Pet Supply/Grooming Services
    335 Russell Street (Route 9), Hadley, MA 01035