AccessAbility Services

Service animals

A service animal is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog who is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Examples of such work and tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack or performing other duties. Service animals can accompany people with disabilities in all areas where the public is allowed to go.

Emotional support animals, whose function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. The ADA does not cover service animals in training.

Only two questions can be asked to determine if a dog is a service animal:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Goodwin faculty and staff cannot require a special identification card for a dog identified as a service animal or restrict the type of dog breeds that can be used as service animals.

Service animals must be under the control of its handler and must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the individual's disability prevents using these devices or these devices interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of tasks. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Goodwin staff may ask only two specific questions to determine if a dog is a service animal

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff cannot require a special identification card for a dog identified as a service animal, require that the dog demonstrate specific tasks, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.

Voluntary registration

  1. If you would like to voluntarily register with the Office of AccessAbility Services, in order to serve a public purpose, for example, to ensure emergency staff know to look for service animals during an emergency, you are welcome to complete the registration form and email it to MRajbanshi@goodwin.edu.
  2. If you plan to live in Goodwin housing, please contact us so that we can discuss the details with Residential Life.