Disability Information Student Handbook

Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA) defines service animal as "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a:

  • Physical,
  • Sensory,
  • Psychiatric,
  • Intellectual or
  • Other mental disability." 

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition."  (Trained miniature horses may be permissible under certain circumstances.)

Service Animal Defined

The following are edited* excerpts from FHDA Board Policy 3440** and Administrative Procedures 3440***:

A “service animal” for purposes of this procedure means a dog, as provided herein that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, and which otherwise meets the criteria set forth below.  Service dogs that meet this definition and the other criteria set forth herein may be referred to as “qualifying service animals.”

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.

 To be a qualifying service animal, the dog must meet the following criteria:

  • Work performed.  The work or tasks performed by a service dog must be directly related to the handler's disability.  For the purposes of this definition, the following effects of a dog's presence do not constitute work or tasks:
    • Crime deterrent,
    • Emotional support,
    • Well-being,
    • Comfort, or
    • Companionship from its presence
  • Control. The service animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service dog's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service dog must be otherwise under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
  • Care or Supervision. The District is not responsible for the care or supervision of the service dog. Use of the animal as a service animal on District property shall not involve or require District care or supervision of the dog.


Inquiries by the District and College

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), students with disabilities have a legal right to take their service dogs with them, even where dogs are otherwise prohibited on campus.

The District or College may make two inquiries to determine whether a student’s dog qualifies as a service animal:

  1. Is the dog required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

The District will not make either of these inquiries when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with an observable mobility disability).

An individual may choose to produce a county service dog license or identification tag as proof that the animal is a service animal.  Licensure or certification is not required in order to meet the definition of service animal under this procedure. 


Regardless of whether the service dog is otherwise qualifying, the District will require an individual with a disability to remove a service dog from the premises if:

• The dog is out of control and the dog's handler does not take effective action to control it;
• The dog is not housebroken; or
• The continuing presence of the service dog creates a substantial risk of injury to persons or District property.

If a service dog is excluded under one of these exceptions, the District will give the individual with a disability the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations or to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the service dog on the premises.

NOTE: In addition, to the criteria and exceptions listed above, service dogs must have the following:

  • California state law requires that all dogs over the age of 4 months be licensed.
  • Service dogs must have current applicable vaccinations. 

Service dogs may be asked to leave campus if they do not meet these criteria or if their behavior is unruly or poses a danger and the partner/handler does not curtail it.  In cases of disagreement over decisions regarding service dogs, an individual may elect to appeal or grieve the decision as outlined in DISH, Section 2, Concern and Complaints.


 * Although cited in the full text of the Board Policy and Administrative Procedures below, references to "miniature horses" as legal service animals have been out edited since they are typically not an issue or relevant at De Anza College.

**  District Board Policy 3440


*** Administrative Procedures 3440   




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Last Updated: 6/14/17