Service Animal Policy - Frequently Asked Questions

Why did UGA institute a policy for service animals?
Georgia state law requires trained service animals and service animals in training to be treated with the same rights to public access.

The Service Animal Policy was implemented at UGA to preserve the rights of Handlers and Partners and to promote the safety of service animals.

What is a Handler? What is a Partner?
A Handler is someone who uses a service animal to assist them with a disability as defined by federal law. A Partner is someone who accompanies dogs being trained to be service animals for Handlers.

What animals must be registered?
All student Partners must register their service animal through the Disability Resource Center. Handlers may also choose to register their service animals.

What is the process for registering a service animal on campus?
All student Partners register their service animals in training through the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The first step is to complete the Service Animal and Partner Registration Form and call the DRC at (706) 542-8719 to schedule a registration appointment. At the registration meeting, the student will receive a copy of the Service Animal Policy and a tag to be placed on the animal's collar to show that the animal has been registered.

Student Handlers are not required to register their service animals, but if they choose to do so, they should contact the Disability Resource Center at (706) 542-8719 for registration information.

Faculty, Staff and Administrators who choose to register their trained service animals should contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Relations (FASR).

How can I know if a Handler or Partner has registered their service animal? 
Handlers are not required to register their service animals, but may choose to do so. If you are not sure if an animal is a service animal, you may ask two questions: (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?

If the dog is not a service animal, you may ask if it is a service animal in training and ask to see its registration tag. If it is a service animal in training and has not been registered, instruct the student partner to contact the Disability Resource Center to register.

Where can I find the Service Animal Policy?
The UGA Service Animal Policy can be found on the Equal Opportunity Office website.

As a faculty member, what should I do if a service animal is disrupting my class?
Please address your concern with the student Handler or Partner requesting that they address the disruptive behavior. If the student is unable to control the animal, faculty and staff members may ask the student to remove the animal. The policy states "Handlers and Partners are required to remove a Service Animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g. biting or attempting to bite, barking, running around, jumping at or up on people or other excessive physical activity that goes beyond repositioning itself on the down stay), or may be directed to do so by any UGA faculty or staff member."

In addition, the policy states that "A Handler or Partner with a Service Animal that appears to be ill may be asked to remove the Service Animal from UGA Facilities by UGA faculty or staff".

If you have discussed your concern with the Handler/Partner and the issue persists, you may wish to contact the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO) to determine the most appropriate next steps or to report a policy violation. You may use the EOO's online form to make a report or request information.

What should I do if I observe a service animal urinate, defecate or vomit in a building and their handler/partner does not clean it up?
If you observe a Handler or Partner not clean up after their service animal, please bring your concern to their attention. The policy states that "the Handler or Partner is responsible for immediately and properly cleaning up and disposing of any bodily fluids or solid waste from the Service Animal whether indoors or outdoors".

The policy goes on to state that Handlers and Partners are responsible for the removal of any "liquid and solid wastes and disposal of the same". Finally, "Handlers and Partners are required to have in their possession at all times when accompanied by their Service Animals appropriate and sufficient cleaning materials and disposal bags whenever their Service Animals are present on UGA Facilities".

As a point of clarification, service animals are trained to relieve themselves on pavement in the event that they are assigned to a Handler that lives in a city or other area where there is little or no green space available to the animal.

If you find bodily fluids or waste from an animal but the Handler/Partner is not present, please report it to a building manager or the custodial staff for cleanup. You may also contact the Facilities Management Work Order Desk at 706-542-7456 for clean up.

Also, if the incident happens repeatedly with a Handler/Partner, or repeatedly in the same location, you may wish to report this through the EOO Online Form.

As a handler/partner, is there someone I can talk with if I feel I am being mistreated due to having a service animal?
Handlers and Partners can contact the Equal Opportunity Office for consultation and support.

As a handler/partner, can I appeal the prohibition of my service animal in a specific location? If so, how?
If you believe that your service animal should receive access to a location prohibited by the policy or by a specific department or building, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office. Please plan to discuss the location, reason you and the service animal should receive access to the location, and the ways in which neither you nor the service animal are in danger or face concerns about safety or hygiene.

What can I do if I observe an aggressive service animal? (dog fight, biting, growling, etc.)
You can report the name of the Handler or Partner or the registration number for the service animal to the Equal Opportunity Office. The registration number for the service animal is located on the UGA tag attached to the animal's collar or can be requested from the Handler or Partner. You may also report the incident through the EOO Online Reporting Form.

What can I do if I observe a service animal being mistreated?
If you believe that a registered service animal is being mistreated, you can report that through the EOO Online Reporting Form. You will need the name of the Handler or Partner or the animal's registration number and be able to describe how you believe the animal is being mistreated. The registration number for the service animal is located on the UGA tag attached to the animal's collar or can be requested from the Partner.

What can I do if a service animal is bothering me?
It is important to understand that service animals have a job to do aiding people who have a disability. Legally the animals are allowed to be on campus, in restaurants, shopping malls, on buses, and other locations where they can be of most use to their Handler. While in training, it is important for the service animal to experience many different settings, moving vehicles, loud and quiet environments, and many types of people. The more experience the dog gains while in training, the more effective they will be for a future Handler.

If you find that you are unable to tolerate the behavior of the service animal, please discuss your concern with the Handler or Partner and determine what solution(s) can be found.

What do I do if I find out that a service animal is not registered on campus? (Or I want to report another Service Animal Policy violation?)
Handlers are not required to register their service animals, but may choose to do so. If you are not sure if an animal is a service animal, you may ask two questions: (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?

If the dog is not a service animal, you may ask if it is a service animal in training and ask to see its registration tag. If it is a service animal in training and has not been reigstered, instruct the student partner to contact the Disability Resource Center to register.

If you are aware of an animal that is being portrayed as a service animal in order to obtain access to UGA facilities, programs, services and activities but is not a true service animal, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office or fill out the Online Reporting Form. If it is found that the policy has been violated the Human Resource Office or the Office of Student Conduct may be notified.

What department(s) serves as resources for the Service Animal Policy?
There are a few offices that serve as resources regarding the Service Animal Policy. If you are an employee of UGA and you have questions about registering your service animal, please contact the Office of Faculty and Staff Relations or the Equal Opportunity Office. If you are a student who has questions about registering a service animal, you may contact the Disability Resource Center or the Equal Opportunity Office. Anyone may contact the Equal Opportunity Office with questions about the policy, an animal's access to facilities, a Handler or Partner's rights and responsibilities with regard to having a service animal, or any other general question.

Are there other departments that have policies related to service animals?
Yes. A partial list with links to the policies is available on the DRC website. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity Office for further information about which departments have their own policies regarding service animals.

Contact the DRC

Clark Howell Hall
825 South Lumpkin Street

VOICE: (706) 542-8719
FAX: (706) 542-7719
TTY: (706) 542-8778

EMAIL: drc@uga.edu

MAIN OFFICE HOURS:

Monday - Friday

8:00am - 5:00pm