"Iguana named King Kong" photo by Cy at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wozes/

Happy Friday! Here's a weird and wonderful memo from Pima Community College:


New Federal Laws on Service Animals

Effective March 15, 2011, the federal definition of "service animal" changed. The new federal law narrowed the definition of service animals to include only dogs and, in some cases, miniature horses. The changes also clarify that emotional support animals or pets are not service animals.

Previously, the American with Disabilities Act allowed any animal to qualify as a service animal as long as the animal was trained to do a task for a person with a disability. This led to various animals, as well as pets, including pigs, snakes, iguanas and parrots, being claimed as service animals.

Under the new federal definition, a service dog is one "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability." An animal is not considered a service animal simply because it provides comfort or support.

In determining whether a miniature horse should be allowed into our facilities, the College may consider the horse's size and weight and the facility's ability to accommodate that size and weight, whether the handler has adequate control over the horse, whether the horse is housebroken and whether the horse's presence compromises safety.

The College cannot ask a person with a service animal about the extent or nature of a disability but can ask if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task the animal is trained to perform. The College should not ask these questions when it is apparent the animal is trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, and the College may not ask for documentation to prove the animal is a service animal.

If you have any questions, please contact a campus Disabled Student Resources office.


Campus Correspondent is a higher education news blog at the Arizona Daily Star. Follow reporter and blogger Becky Pallack on Twitter.