The problem that I see with the waiver approach is that if the dog places other students in danger. The owner can theoretically waive the safety of the dog but the owner cannot endanger other students. Even if the dog is well trained one could question how well the dog will respond if say, splashed with a caustic substance.
I forwarded this thread to my husband who has a different perspective on the ADA rules. He provides contact information for other specific questions. Please see below.
I looked at the UGA policy contained in this thread and I do have some problems with it. Under the ADA, colleges and universities must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or to students. In the UGA policy they discuss prohibitive areas that are subjective to the opinion of the person making the decision. Under ADA there are very few instances where the animal can be denied. An example would be a sterile operating room or in a research setting a "clean" room. UGA seeks to broaden their policy so they have broader latitude in their denials. This is problematic in itself as the ADA allows for reasonable modification of policies and procedures that the student could seek and the university must consider under the law. You cannot "policy" away your responsibility under the law.
What needs to be looked at in a broader sense is reasonable accommodation. Universities and businesses need to look more broadly at what efforts could be made to modify their policies or practices to accommodate the individual. Certainly there will be instances where that may change the fundamental nature of the environment in which case a denial may be merited.
The one thing that ADA is clear on is that the responsibility of the care and safety of the dog is fully on the owner. It is understandable to worry about an animal's safety but that is never the call of another party. It would be acceptable as an accommodation to have the individual sign a waiver that states they were informed of all the risks prior to being allowed in the lab.
I have included a link to the ADA guide on service animals.
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals | ADA National Network
(Printer-friendly WORD version| 1.98MB)
People can also call 1-800-949-4232 to talk to their regional ADA Centers for technical assistance.
Chris Sweet, MS
Northeast ADA Center
Employment and Disability Institute
ILR School, Cornell University
312 Dolgen Hall
Ithaca NY 14853
Disclaimer: The Northeast ADA Center is not involved in the enforcement of the ADA and does not provide legal advice.
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List
On Behalf Of Alan Hall
Sent: Thursday, September 03, 2015 2:45 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Fwd: [DCHAS-L] Accommodations for a service animal in the lab
ToVictoria and the group.
MyDaughter is disabled and uses aa service dog. She holds 2 batchelors degrees and 2 Master's degrees, one in specialEducation and one in Science Education. She hsa taught at various level in the public schools, including various laoratory classes.
I asked her about this issue and her reply is included here.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Seana Hall <seananf**At_Symbol_Here**gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 12:29 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Accommodations for a service animal in the lab
To: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**gmail.com>
The things I have done with my dogs include use of a kennel out of the way of everything even if possible in a neighboring office to ensure safety. At a minimum the dog should be given a place away from the center of activity where it is not likely to be stepped on, spilled on etc.
Think about areas where things are stored that are not part of the lab, backpacks etc where things are going to be relatively safe.
On Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 11:55 AM, Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**gmail.com> wrote:
Any ideas about this?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Victoria Carhart <vcarhart**At_Symbol_Here**uvm.edu>
Date: Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 10:59 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Accommodations for a service animal in the lab
I am trying to make accommodations for a service dog in teaching labs at the university. The students are required to wear closed-toe shoes and safety glasses as a minimum. We have a policy for service animals on campus, however, it doesn't really have any safety measures for the animals when they are in labs. Does anyone know of ways to keep the animal safe or have any experience with this type of situation?
Thanks for any help you are able to give.
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