Residential Service Animal Policy
Policy Name: Residential Service Animals
Approval Date: May 18, 2022
Purpose: The Residential Service Animals policy aims to provide guidance and expectations for ASCF staff, visitors and guests related to what is allowed and expected related to service animals on campus in accordance with Texas law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Policy: A Shelter for Cancer Families allows service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. The task performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. If traveling with a service animal, a residential housing applicant must notify ASCF at the time of the initial application.
ASCF residential program participants will be responsible for any damage that may result from having a service animal on campus. All service animals visiting the ASCF campus will be required to provide proof of vaccination status as required by law.
Because service animals are meant to service a person with a disability, such animals may not be left unattended on property and must always be under the control of the designated handler. The designated handler is responsible for providing care for the service animal. If the handler is not able to provide such care, the individual may plan for a family member or friend to care for the service dog. Such family member or friend would be required to meet all requirements of residential housing applicants. If a service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or if it is not housebroken, ASCF staff may request that the animal be removed from premises.
ASCF staff may confirm if a service animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the dog has been trained to perform. ASCF staff members are not permitted to request documentation for the dog, that the dog demonstrate its task nor to inquire about the nature of the individual’s disability.
Under Texas law, it is a crime to pass a pet off as a trained service animal to gain benefits provided to people with disabilities. Should an applicant characterize a dog as a service animal when it is not, the individual will be asked to leave and/or will not be permitted to stay on campus in the future. Such applicants may also be subject to additional penalties and/or fines under the law. Emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals are not considered service animals under the ADA.