Service Animals

Passaic County Community College has established procedures regarding the use of Service Animals by students and community members with disabilities. Those wishing to use a Service Animal in order to access college services or participate in activities outside of the classroom on any PCCC campus or center are permitted to do so only in accordance with the following procedures. Animals other than Service Animals are not allowed inside any PCCC building.

Definitions of Service Animals

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and New Jersey’s Law against Discrimination (LAD) public accommodations to allow people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service or guide dogs. A guide dog is a dog specially trained by a recognized organization to assist someone who is blind or deaf. A service dog is dog that has been individually trained to meet the requirements of a person’s accessibility, including dogs that pull wheelchairs, seizure dogs, and dogs that do minimal protection or rescue work.

New Jersey law recognizes physical, mental, developmental, and psychological disabilities, so a dog that is individually trained to assist with any of these disabilities should qualify as a service dog.

The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability. (In some circumstances, a miniature horse who is individually trained also qualifies as a service animal under the ADA.) The tasks or work the animal does must be directly related to the person’s disability

Neither the ADA nor New Jersey’s service animal law includes pets or what are often referred to as “emotional service animals”: animals that provide a sense of safety, companionship, and comfort to those with psychiatric or emotional disabilities or conditions. Although these animals often have therapeutic benefits, they are not individually trained to perform specific tasks for their handlers. Under the ADA and New Jersey law, owners of public accommodations are not required to allow emotional service animals, only service animals.

Service Animals are permitted on campus when accompanied by any student, guest or member of the public who has a disability as defined by the ADAAA or the New Jersey Law against Discrimination. The person accompanying the animal may be asked by College staff (including Public Safety Officers) whether the animal is a service animal, and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform for the disabled person. A service dog must be removed if it poses a substantial and/or direct threat to health or safety of others or when the presence of the dog constitutes a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program or service.

Responsibilities of All Persons with Disabilities Using Service Animals. All animal owners are responsible for any damage caused by their animals on campus and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The cost of care, arrangements and responsibility for the well-being of authorized animals are the sole responsibility of the owner at all times. Service animals may not be left unattended in parked cars or tied or chained to poles, fences, etc. on campus. In order to be on campus, service animals must:

  • Meet Legal Requirements: All requirements for the presence of animals in public places (vaccinations, licensure, ID tags, etc.) mandated by state or local ordinances must be followed, including but not limited to: Licensing: The animal must meet licensing requirements and wear the tags if the animal is residing on campus. If the animal accompanies a commuter student and resides in another town, the animal must meet the licensing requirements of the student’s resident town and wear the tags designated by that community. Students authorized to bring service animals to campus must provide documentation of licensing on an annual basis. Records of such are to be maintained by Office of Accessibility Services.
  • Be Under Control of the Owner: The animal must be under full control of the owner at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from all service animals while on campus. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ appropriate training techniques to correct the situation. In addition:
  • The animal must be on a leash or caged at all times. It should never be permitted to wander the campus off leash even when accompanied by the owner.
  • The animal must be as unobtrusive as possible when in the presence of other members of the College community.
  • Animals must be house-trained. The animal must urinate or defecate outside.
  • Service animals are prohibited from kitchens and food preparation areas.
  • Consequences for misbehavior: The service animal is held to the conduct and etiquette stated in this policy. The owner is fully responsible for all actions of the service animal. When a service animal is determined to be out of control or otherwise in violation of this Policy, the College will take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of its members. Consequences for animal misconduct may include, but are not limited to, muzzling a barking dog, refresher training for the animal and its handler, or removal from College facilities. If the actions of the animal result in a violation of the College Code of Conduct, the owner may be charged accordingly.
  • Adhere to Cleanup Rule: The owner must follow local clean up ordinances when the animal defecates. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animal are still responsible for ensuring that waste is disposed of properly.

Conflicting Needs. It is common for persons to have a condition that precipitates an allergic reaction to animals. Persons (including College faculty or staff) who have asthma/allergy/medical issues when in prolonged close proximity with an authorized animal on campus are to be directed to make this known to ODS or Human Services. The person making the complaint must provide verifiable medical documentation to service his/her claim. Action will be taken to consider the needs of both persons to resolve the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Damages. The owner is responsible for all damages that the service animal may cause while on campus. If a student’s service animal causes damage to college property, the cost of the damage will be assessed and assigned to the student’s bill.

Responsibility of Students using Service Animals on Campus. If the request to have a service animal on campus is approved, the requesting student must:

  • Register the animal with ODS prior to the animal being on campus.
  • At the start of each academic year, provide documentation to ODS showing proof that the animal is licensed and in good health.
  • Review and sign appropriate forms and agreements as requested at the start of each academic year.
  • Produce, upon request from college personnel, the Animal Authorization Card which, once signed by the Dean of Students, will be provided.
  • Removal of Service Animals from Campus. In cases of imminent danger or threat to the animal or others, Public Safety Officers or On-Call Administrators may order the immediate removal of a service animal. Non-emergency removals may be authorized by the Dean of Students or designee. In such cases, the owner will be notified in writing that the animal must be removed, including the reasons for removal. A service animal may be ordered removed from any area on the campus and may be prohibited from College facilities for the following reasons:
  • Disruption: A owner may be directed to remove an service animal from a public or common area on campus when the animal is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, snapping, running around, bringing attention to itself, jumping up on people, escaping from cage or leash). If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the animal to campus until the owner can demonstrate that s/he has taken significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Any animal that exhibits aggressive or unsafe behavior may be prohibited from College facilities.
  • Threatening behavior: A service animal may be excluded from the campus when that animal’s behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others including other service animals.
  • Ill health: Service animals that are ill should not be taken into public or common areas on campus. An owner with an ill service animal may be asked to remove the animal from college facilities.
  • Uncleanliness: Owners must ensure that their animals are kept in sanitary conditions, and are clean and well-groomed. An owner of an animals who condition is excessively unclean or unsanitary (e.g., flea infested, foul-smelling and/or shedding excessively, urinating or defecating inappropriately) may be asked to remove the animal from college facilities. Should an owner’s service animal be ordered removed from campus and prohibited for any reason, ODS may afford the owner the option of replacing the service animal or continuing to attend the College with other reasonable accommodations but without a service animal on campus.

Public Etiquette by the Service Animal. The animal:

  • Must not be allowed to sniff people, store shelves, tables in eating areas, or personal belongings of others.
  • Must not initiate contact with someone without the owner’s direct permission.
  • Must not display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, such as barking, whining, or growling; scratching doors or chewing on furniture or personal belongings of others.
  • Must avoid excessive personal grooming in public settings.
  • Must not block an aisle or passageway.
  • Must be trained not to be attracted to food that may be in common areas.
  • Be housetrained when accompanying the owner inside campus facilities.

An owner may be issued a verbal or written warning by College staff whenever a service animal exhibits poor etiquette on campus. Such warnings will be documented on a Public Safety Incident Report depending upon the circumstances surrounding the behavior. All such reports will be sent to the Dean of Students. Following an etiquette warning, the owner is expected to take action to train the animal to prevent re-occurrence of the offending behavior. If etiquette warnings for animal misconduct are repeatedly issued to an owner, the service animal may be ordered removed from College facilities, or the owner may be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Areas of Safety. It may be considered unsafe for service animals to be present in certain areas of College facilities, or during specific educational or recreational activities on campus. Each place or activity will be considered as to its risk potential by a team of individuals, including ODS, professor, and the Dean of Student Affairs. ODS will arrange reasonable accommodations when it is determined unsafe for the service animal to accompany a disabled student in one of these areas or College activities.

Appeal Procedures. A decision to deny approval of a service animal or to remove a previously approved animal may be appealed in writing to the Dean of Student Affairs. Appeals must state a specific reason(s) for why the owner believes the request should be reconsidered. The Dean may consider records and information relevant to the owner’s reconsideration request, whether submitted by the owner or obtained from any College office or staff person, including ODS and the Public Safety Office. Decisions on service animal appeals shall be issued in writing and shall be the final administrative actions of the College

If the owner believes the denial or removal of a service animal may be discriminatory, or a denial of a reasonable accommodation under the protections afforded to disabled students under federal law or the New Jersey Law against Discrimination, the owner may submit a written complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer. If an owner alleges discrimination based upon a protected category in an appeal letter, the Dean of Student Affairs shall refer the appeal to the Affirmative Action Officer for a confidential investigation. The Affirmative Action Officer’s administrative decision shall be the final actions of the College.

Temporarily disabled? No documentation? Please call 973-684-6395 or email [email protected] to see if you qualify for services.