Assistance Animal Procedures


Vincennes University is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. It is the policy of Vincennes University (VU) that service animals assisting students and other individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all VU facilities and programs that are open to the general public, unless health or safety is an issue (see other exceptions below.)  We respectfully ask that all service animals be fitted with some form of identifying equipment such as a vest, harness, cape, or backpack while working so others can quickly recognize this is a service animal. Unfortunately, some people are unfamiliar with the role of service animals and mistake them for pets, and the use of identifying equipment for a service animal helps to dispel this mistaken belief.  Other types of assistance animals, such as therapy, comfort and emotional support animals are also permitted on the Vincennes University campus, but on a very limited basis.  Therapy, comfort and emotional support animals may be brought into campus residential facilities, if a student has a documented disability that requires such assistance.  However, these types of assistance animals may not be taken into buildings, classrooms or other facilities outside of the residential facility.

Vincennes University reserves the right to determine on a case by case basis whether an animal qualifies as a service or other assistance animal, and if it is a reasonable accommodation for a student with a documented disability.  If an assistance animal will be residing in campus housing facilities, a Letter of Prescription prepared by a student's specialist, veterinarian proof of vaccinations, a signed statement verifying house training, and an Assistance Animal Registration form are required.  This specific documentation must be on file in the VU Disability Services office prior to bringing an assistance animal into a residential facility.  Please see the attached, Sample Prescription Letter below to better assist your specialist in preparing this required letter. Once your animal has been approved to live in your residence, you will be asked to sign either an Animal Agreement for Dogs or an Animal Agreement for Cats.


Service Animal: VU has adopted the following definition from the U. S. Department of Justice. "Service animals are defined as dogs (or miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include (but are not limited to) 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 are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability." 

Therapy, Comfort and Emotional Support Animals:  Animals whose sole function is to provide therapy, comfort or emotional support to individuals with disabilities do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not permitted in most classrooms and other VU facilities. However, as mandated by the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) emotional support animals may be allowed to reside with a qualified student with a disability in campus residential facilities. Even though they are not covered under federal law, VU does allow therapy and comfort animals to also live with a student with a documented disability in campus residential facilities, as long as the student submits a Letter of Prescription, verification of vaccinations, verification of house training, and Assistance Animal Registration form to the Disability Services office.  To reiterate, therapy, comfort and emotional support animals are not permitted in campus buildings other than residential facilities, and are not permitted if the student does not have a documented disability.

Please read the 2010 Revised ADA Requirements from the Department of Justice for more information.


In classrooms and campus facilitiesa service animal may accompany a student with a disability in every classroom and campus facility that is open to the general public, without the need to register the service animal. However, please provide advance notification of your use of a service animal to the VU Disability Services office, an administrator on the VU campus of attendance, or the faculty member of the class to assist us in preparing a safe and healthy environment for you, your animal and others. We also ask that all service animals wear a vest, harness, cape, or backpack at all times while working so others can quickly recognize this is a service animal as opposed to another type of assistance animal or pet.  Again, only service animals are permitted in all campus buildings that are open to the general public, as long as health or safety is not a concern; however, assistance animals used for therapy, comfort, or emotional support are not permitted in classrooms and other campus facilities other than the approved residential facility.

In campus housing:  if a student desires to have an assistance animal (service, therapy, comfort, or emotional support) reside in campus housing facilities, registration of the animal in the office of Disability Services is required prior to bringing the animal to live in the facility. This is intended to aid in keeping your animal and the rest of the campus housing community safe, especially during times of emergency evacuation. The student's Letter of Prescription,  verification of vaccinations, verification of house training, and completed Assistance 
Animal Registration form should be submitted to the Disability Services office as soon as the need for such an animal has been determined.  Please note: assistance animals MAY NEVER be left unattended in campus residential facilities for longer than 24 hours.  Should this situation become imminent, please contact a Housing and Residence Life staff member or Vincennes University police immediately to determine an appropriate course of action. Please also contact the director of Disability Services at 812-888-4501 for more information or to register an assistance animal.

Service animals accompanying visitors with disabilities are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the general public, unless health or safety is an issue. A service animal that accompanies a visitor should also be fitted with some form of identifying equipment such as a vest, harness, cape, or backpack while working, so others can quickly recognize this is a service animal and not mistaken for being a pet. Specific questions related to the use of service animals on the Vincennes University campus by visitors can be directed to the office of Disability Services at 812-888-4501.

Appeals and Grievances

Students dissatisfied with decisions concerning an assistance animal are asked to review and follow the Vincennes University grievance procedure. Student grievance procedures are described in the current, online VU catalogue, on the Disability Services "Laws and Grievances" webpage, and on the Judicial Affairs webpage.


An animal may be excluded from the VU campus, facility or program:

  • If the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it.
  • If the animal is not housebroken; please note, no assistance animal is allowed in any of the housing facilities if it is not housebroken.
  • When the presence of an animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity, or presents a danger to the animal or other individuals. Examples may include, but are not limited to research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, and food preparation areas.
  • A therapy, comfort or emotional support animal is taken into a prohibited area, such as a classroom, since only service dogs (or miniature horses) are permitted in areas outside of the student's approved, campus residential facility.
  • For failure to comply with any portion of this policy.

Handlers must comply with applicable state laws and city ordinances regarding animals. Please see in particular,

Vaccination: As a minimum, animals must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. All vaccinations must be current. Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag; see , “Required rabies vaccination of dogs”. The vaccinations considered “Core” by the American Animal Hospital Association for dogs are required. Verification of vaccinations from a licensed veterinarian, in addition to verification of house training, must also be provided.

Licensing: Animals must be properly licensed, per state of residence of the student.

Owner ID and other tags: Animals must wear an owner identification tag and a rabies vaccination tag at all times.

Control: Animals must be on a harness, leash, or other tether at all times, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s safe and effective performance of work or tasks, or the handler’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The handler of an animal must be in full control of the animal at all times.

Animal care and cleanup: The handler of an animal is responsible for prompt clean up of all animal waste. Handlers should always carry equipment and bags sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces, and are required to properly dispose of the feces.  Handlers who are not physically able to pick up and dispose of the feces are responsible for making all necessary arrangements for assistance.  The University is not responsible for these services.  The care and supervision of an animal is solely the responsibility of the handler, including grooming, nutrition (food and water), and veterinary care.  Regular bathing or cleaning of the animal is expected to avoid significant odors or shedding and to avoid health problems.  Failure to exercise proper care for the animal may result in the exclusion of the animal from campus.

Health: Animals to be housed in University housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. Any animal with signs of illness, including but not limited to a known zoonotic disease (a disease of animals, such as rabies or psittacosis, that can be transmitted to humans), diarrhea, vomiting, fever or open sores should not be on campus until deemed non-infectious/contagious by the written statement of a licensed Indiana veterinarian.

Damage: Handlers of service animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by their animals.


  • Allow a service animal to accompany the handler at all times and in all campus locations (with the exception of areas where animals are strictly prohibited for safety reasons).
  • Do not touch or feed service animals when the animal is working since these actions may distract the animal from required tasks.
  • Do not deliberately startle or distract a service animal.
  • Do not attempt to separate a service animal from its handler.
  • Notify the office of Disability Services about any questions, problems, or concerns you may have regarding service or other assistance animals on campus.

This publication was edited on 11 October 2016 to improve clarity in these procedures and assist in the provision of appropriate accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.  All questions, concerns or requests for assistance will be addressed within ten (10) business days of receipt, and should be directed to the director of Disability Services at 812-888-4501.