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Service and Emotional Support Animals

Service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on the Southwest Minnesota State University campus. Emotional support animals are permitted with proper documentation of the need.

Service Animal Guidelines


Southwest Minnesota State University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities and fulfilling its responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).  Service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on the SMSU campus.  The university may only ask if the animal is required because of a disability as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.


By law, a service animal  means any dog that is individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals.  The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability.  The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.  In certain situations, a service animal may include a housebroken miniature horse.

Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds
  • Providing non-violent protection or rescue work
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure
  • Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors

Service animal use and requirements on campus

  • Service animals assisting individuals with disabilities are allowed in all public facilities at SMSU, with the exception of areas where service animals are specifically prohibited due to safety or health restrictions, where the service animal may be in danger, or where the service animal’s use may compromise the integrity of research.

  • Licensure and Vaccination: Service animals on campus must comply with all state and local licensure and vaccination requirements.  Dogs must wear a license tag and a current rabies vaccination tag.

  • Leash: Service animals must be on a lease at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to owner’s/keeper’s disability.

  • Under control: The owner/keeper of the service animal must be in full control of the animal at all times.  The animal must note be disruptive (for example, barking) and cannot pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others on campus.  An individual with a disability may be asked to remove a service animal from the university if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it. A person who has a service animal on campus, including University housing, is financially responsible for property damage caused by his or her service animal.

  • Clean-up: The care and supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the individual who used the animal’s service. This includes clean-up of all animal waste.  University/Maintenance and Residential Life may designate animal toileting areas.  Those who are unable to physically pick up and dispose of feces are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance on a daily basis.

These guidelines are derived from the American’s with disabilities Act of 2008 and its revised final Title II which became effective March 15, 2011. 

Emotional Support Animal Guidelines

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides comfort to an individual with a disability in their living environment and is a housing accommodation authorized by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Fair Housing Act.

Applications for an ESA must be approved through Accessibility Service and Residential Life prior to arrival on campus.

The following three forms will need to be completed by the student and the medical provider.  Generally the professional who provides the documentation should be someone with whom you are having an ongoing therapeutic relationship.  All forms should be send to Accessibility Services. 

Fax:  507-537-6812


Accessibility Services
1501 State Street
Individualized Learning 220
Marshall MN 56258 

ESA Resources

Last Modified: 8/29/23 10:24 AM | Website Feedback