Assistance Animal Policy
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) recognizes the importance of "Service Animals" as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the broader category of "Assistance Animals" under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) that provide physical and/or emotional support to individuals with disabilities.
Except for certain fish, animals are generally not allowed on campus. However, NYIT will consider a request by an individual with a disability for reasonable accommodation from this prohibition to allow an Assistance Animal that is necessary and reasonable because of a disability.
Given the logistical considerations of having an animal on campus, specific processes are required to ensure safe and healthy interactions between the animal, the owner and the campus constituencies. The Office of Accessibility Services facilitates this process, in collaboration with the student and additional administrative offices, as needed.
NYIT is committed to allowing individuals with disabilities the use of a Service Animal on campus to facilitate their full-participation and equal access to NYIT's programs and activities. NYIT is also committed to allowing Service and Emotional Support Animals necessary to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy NYIT housing. This policy applies to students at NYIT and students living in NYIT facilities.
Overarching term that refers to both Service Animals as well as Emotional Support Animals as defined below. Therefore, an Assistance Animal is an animal that either (1) works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; or (2) provides emotional or other type of support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.
A dog (and in limited circumstances, a miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability. An animal whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support is not considered a Service Animal.
"Psychiatric" Service Dog
Type of Service Animal that is individually trained to help a person with a mental disability with specific requirements. An individual that uses such a dog is entitled to the same rights under the law as someone with a physical disability that uses a service dog.
Emotional Support Animal
A dog or other animal that is not trained to perform specific acts directly related to an individual's disability. Instead, the animal's owner derives a sense of well-being, safety, or calm from the animal's companionship and presence. An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is not a pet, but may be identified by various names such as a companion animal, therapy animal, or emotional support animal.
The "Owner" is the individual who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring an Assistance Animal into NYIT housing.
A. Service Animal (Including Psychiatric Service Dog)
Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their owners anywhere their owners are permitted on campus. Service Animals will be permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of NYIT's facilities, including NYIT housing, where students, members of the public, and other participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. NYIT does not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal. Individuals accompanied by a Service Animal on campus but who do not need any disability-related accommodations are not required to register with the Office of Accessibility Services , nor is such individual required to submit a request for a reasonable accommodation to receive access of his or her Service Animal.
However, when it is not readily apparent that a dog is a Service Animal, NYIT staff may make the following inquiries to determine whether the dog qualifies as a Service Animal:
- Is the dog an Emotional Support Animal?
- Is the dog required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
A Service Animal must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those, or such use would interfere with the Service Animal's performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the Service Animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or other effective means.
NYIT will assess requests for the use of miniature horses by people with disabilities on a case- by-case basis. Requests should be submitted to the Office of Accessibility Services and, consistent with applicable laws, NYIT may make modifications in its policies to permit their use if they meet certain criteria and have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of people with disabilities.
B. Emotional Support Animal
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are generally not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in all public areas of NYIT as a Service Animal is allowed to do, but an Emotional Support Animal may reside in NYIT housing, including accompanying such individual in all public or common use areas of NYIT housing, when it may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy NYIT housing. Before an Emotional Support Animal can move into NYIT housing with a person with a disability, a request must be submitted to the Office of Accessibility Services and approval must be granted (preferably at least 30 days prior to move in).
If the disability is not obvious, the Office of Accessibility Services may require documentation from a licensed physician or mental health provider, including without limitation a qualified psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional, to provide sufficient information for NYIT to determine:
- That the individual qualifies as a person with a disability (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities); and
- That the Emotional Support Animal may be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy NYIT housing (i.e., that the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would ameliorate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability).
As with Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals must be housebroken (i.e., trained so that it controls its waste elimination, absent illness or accident) and must be kept under control by a harness, leash, or other tether, unless the person is unable to hold those, or such use would interfere with the animal's performance of work or tasks. In such instances, the Emotional Support Animal must be kept under control by voice, signals, or other effective means.
Process for requesting An Emotional Support Animal in NYIT Housing
The process for requesting Assistance Animals follows the general procedures set forth by the [Office of Accessibility Services[(/administrativeoffices/accessibilityservices). Contact the office for additional information.
Criteria for Determining if Presence of an Emotional Support Animal is Reasonable
NYIT housing is unique in several aspects including the mandatory assignment of roommates for many individuals and the mandate that individuals must share a room or suite in certain dorms. To ensure that the presence of Emotional Support Animals is not an undue administrative burden or fundamental alteration of NYIT housing, NYIT reserves the right to make necessary changes to provide an accommodation.
However, for all requests for Emotional Support Animals, the Office of Accessibility Services shall nonetheless consult with Residence Life in making a determination on a case-by-case basis of whether the presence of an Emotional Support Animal is reasonable.
A request for an Emotional Support Animal may be denied as unreasonable if the presence of the animal:
- Imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden.
- Fundamentally alters NYIT housing policies.
- Poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including NYIT property.
NYIT may consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with Emotional Support Animals:
- The animal's presence otherwise violates individuals' right to peace and quiet enjoyment.
- The animal is not housebroken.
- The animal's vaccinations are not up-to-date.
- The animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the individual or others.
- The animal causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear.
NYIT will not limit room assignments for individuals with Emotional Support Animals to any particular building or buildings because the individual needs an Emotional Support Animal because of a disability.
Access to NYIT Facilities By Emotional Support Animals
Notwithstanding the restrictions set forth herein, both Service and Emotional Support Animals must be properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the dominion and control of the Owner at all times. No Owner shall permit the animal to go loose or run at large. If an animal is found running at large, the animal is subject to capture and confinement and immediate removal from the campus. An Emotional Support Animal must be contained within the privately assigned individual living accommodations (e.g. room, suite, apartment) except to the extent the individual is taking the animal out for natural relief.
When outside the Owner's living accommodations, The Emotional Support Animal must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness. Emotional Support Animals are not allowed in any NYIT facilities other than residential facilities (e.g. dormitories, suites, apartments) to which the Owner is assigned.
Rights and Responsibilities of the Service Animal Owner/Handler
To qualify for the use of a service animal on campus, an individual must have a disability as defined by the ADA, and:
- The accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual. A service animal must be trained however it is not required to be licensed or certified by a state or local government as a service dog.
- A service animal is not legally required to have a special harness/collar, documentation of training, or identifying tags; it is expected to be under the student handler's control at all times via a leash or tether, or verbal/signal commands if such devices interfere with its work or are not possible due to the student's disability.
- The handler must ensure the dog is behaving, under control, and not interfering with day to day operations and business of the campus community (i.e. not barking regularly) nor posing a threat to others (i.e. not growling or biting others). Handlers whose animal does not behave appropriately are expected to cooperate if asked by NYIT staff or faculty to remove the animal from that immediate environment. Instances of inappropriate behavior may result in a determination that the animal is no longer allowed on campus.
- There may be situations in which the animal's presence would fundamentally alter the nature of a particular service, program, or business of NYIT. When these situations are identified, the handler and NYIT must work together to determine how best to maintain the learning environment while still appropriately accommodating the handler.
- When not walking, the dog should be at the handler's side or feet, or in their lap or a dog carrier. Service animals are not allowed to be on furniture.
- The handler is responsible for complying with the applicable dog control and licensing laws for animal rights and owner obligations, including ensuring the dog is current with immunizations and has a rabies vaccination tag. Documentation of vaccinations may be required by NYIT.
- The handler is solely responsible for the care of the dog, including regular bathing and grooming, providing the dog food and water as needed, and removing or arranging for the prompt removal of the dog's waste into appropriate waste receptacles.
- If the presence of the service animal is creating an access issue for another resident or student with a disability (i.e. life limiting animal allergies), the handler is expected to work with the Office of Accessibility Services, and any other appropriate NYIT offices as needed, to address the access concerns in a manner that allows both students to be appropriately accommodated.
- Service animals are permitted access to all NYIT buildings.
- Service animals are permitted to reside within residential communities with their student owner/handler are expected to adhere to both the responsibilities outlined above and residential community standards and expectations.
Responsibilities of Owners Approved To Use Emotional Support Animals
If NYIT grants an individual's request to live with an Emotional Support Animal, the individual is solely responsible for the custody and care of the animal and must meet the following requirements:
- The Owner must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the individual's responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. NYIT has the right to require documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include a vaccination certificate. NYIT reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed.
- The Owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the animal's waste in a safe and sanitary manner and, when provided, must use animal relief areas designated by NYIT.
- The Owner is required to ensure the animal is well cared for at all times. Any evidence of mistreatment or abuse may result in immediate removal of the Emotional Support Animal and/or discipline for the individual.
- NYIT will not ask for or require an individual with a disability to pay a fee or surcharge for an approved Emotional Support Animal.
- The Owner may be charged for any damage caused by his or her Emotional Support Animal beyond reasonable wear and tear to the same extent that it charges other individuals for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear. The Owner's living accommodations may also be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests if necessary as part of the NYIT's standard or routine inspections. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by an NYIT-approved pest control service. The Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls. NYIT shall have the right to bill the individual's account for unmet obligations under this provision.
- The Owner must fully cooperate with NYIT personnel with regard to meeting the terms of this Policy and developing procedures for care of the animal (e.g., cleaning the animal, feeding/watering the animal, designating an outdoor relief area, disposing of feces, etc.).
- Emotional Support Animals may not be left overnight in NYIT housing to be cared for by any individual other than the Owner. If the Owner is to be absent from his/her dorm overnight or longer, the animal must be removed from campus. The Owner is responsible for ensuring that the Emotional Support Animal is contained, as appropriate, when the Owner is not present during the day while attending classes or other activities
- The Owner agrees to abide by all equally applicable residential policies that are unrelated to the individual's disability such as assuring that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for individuals who reside there.
- The animal is allowed in NYIT housing only as long as it is necessary because of the Owner's disability. The Owner must notify the Office of Accessibility Services in writing if the Emotional Support Animal is no longer needed or is no longer in residence. To replace an Emotional Support Animal, the new animal must be necessary because of the Owner's disability and the Owner must follow the procedures in this Policy when requesting a different animal.
- NYIT personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any Emotional Support Animal including, but not limited to, removing the animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the animal.
- The individual must provide written consent for the Office of Accessibility Services to disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the Emotional Support Animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, Residence Life personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include information related to the individual's disability.
- Upon notification from the Office of Accessibility Services, the Owner is responsible for securing the approval signatures of appropriate roommates. If roommate(s) change during the academic year, new roommates will have the opportunity to agree to the presence of the Emotional Support Animal in the room. If roommate(s) do not agree to the presence of the Emotional Support Animal in the room, the Office of Accessibility Services and Office of Residence Life will explore possible room changes for the Owner or non-approving roommate.
Removal of an Emotional Support Animal
NYIT may require the individual to remove an Emotional Support Animal from NYIT housing if:
- The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes substantial property damage to the property of others.
- The animal's presence results in a fundamental alteration of an NYIT program.
- The Owner does not comply with the Owner's Responsibilities set forth above.
- The animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the NYIT community.
NYIT will base such determinations upon the consideration of the behavior of the particular animal at issue, and not on speculation or fear about the harm or damages an animal may cause. Any removal of the animal will be done in consultation with the Office of Accessibility Services and may be appealed to the appropriate Dean of Students who will review such requests.
Should the Emotional Support Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
Guidelines for Members of the NYIT Community
To ensure equal access and nondiscrimination of people with disabilities, members of the NYIT community must abide by the following practices:
- Allow Service Animals to accompany people with disabilities on campus.
- Allow Emotional Support Animals to accompany people with disabilities to the residential facility which the Owner has been assigned.
- Do not ask for details about a person's disabilities.
- Do not pet an Assistance Animal, as it may distract the animal from its work.
- Do not feed an Assistance Animal.
- Do not deliberately startle, tease, or taunt an Assistance Animal.
- Do not separate or attempt to separate an Owner from his/her Assistance Animal.
If you have a disability that may be affected by the presence of animals, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services. NYIT is committed to ensuring that the needs of all people with disabilities are met and will determine how to resolve any conflicts or problems as expeditiously as possible.
Any complaints or grievances shall be handled in accordance with NYIT or NYITCOM's Section 504 Grievance Policy of the Accommodation Policy for Students with Disabilities.