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Animals on Campus

Submitted by Thom Janini,

There continues to be some confusion about the rules governing the presence of animals in ATI academic buildings. I hope this provides clarification. 
The University has a general “no pets” policy in all of its buildings. Pets are allowed on the grounds when leashed and under control. Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers in any building or public space where their handlers are permitted. Emotional Support and visiting therapy animals may be allowed in specified areas of the University with advanced approval. 
Service Animals 
A service animal at the Ohio State University, and as defined by the American with Disabilities Act (, is a dog that has been trained to perform an active task that mitigates or partially mitigates the impact of the handler’s disability. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The service (work or task) a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. 
At the Ohio State ATI campus a student (handler) with a service animal (dog) that is registered with Student Success Services - Disability Services is allowed to accompany their student (handler) anywhere on the campus that their student (handler) is permitted (exceptions may exist in areas requiring protective clothing for access). If a Service Animal’s role is not obvious, faculty/staff may ask the student (handler) two questions: 
   1. Is this a service animal required for a disability? 
   2. What work or task (service) does the dog perform? 
   The student (handler) cannot be: 
   • asked about their disability 
   • required to provide medical documentation 
   • required to present a special identification card or training documentation for the dog 
   • asked to demonstrate the dog’s ability to perform the service 

Emotional Support Animals 
Assistance animals that provide passive support that partially ameliorates the impact of a disability are referred to as Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). ESA’s are not typically allowed in ATI’s academic buildings unless an accommodation has been granted through Disability Services. 
Visiting Therapy Animals 
Animals in the company of their handlers that have been trained to make wellness, stress reduction or therapeutic short-term visits are Visiting Therapy Animals. Permission is required before these animals can be brought into camps buildings. 
All other privately owned animals that are not in any of the groups listed above are pets. Pets are not allowed in academic buildings generally. Exceptions are occasionally made when an animal will be used in a teaching function and prior permission has been granted by ATI. 

 For further information about bringing animals to campus and into academic buildings, please access the OSU University Animal Policy online: