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Important Definitions

We distinguish animals based on their roles according to the American’s with Disabilities Act and Shepherd University policy. Assistance Animals is an overarching term that includes both Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals. This term does not include Pets.

An Emotional Support Animal is an umbrella term that includes comfort/therapy/support animals. An Emotional Support Animal is an animal that fosters emotional or other support that provides relief for one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. The animal must be a reasonable accommodation for the individual and necessary to allow the individual equal opportunity to use and enjoy university housing. More information on Emotional Support Animals can be found on the Accessibility Services Animal Guidelines Page.

service animals

Any animal 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 meets the definition of “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The task or work a service animal has been trained to do must directly relate to the individual’s disability. Examples include but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting people who are deaf or hard of hearing, assisting individuals during seizures, assisting with the retrieval of items, assistance with balance and stability, and preventing or interrupting behaviors. The function of providing comfort, emotional support, well-being, or companionship does not constitute “work or tasks” for the purpose of qualifying as a Service Animal. The term Service Animal includes dogs in training to be Service Animals when they are accompanied by a trainer and identified as a dog in training.

Service animals are dogs of any breed and any size, that are trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability. More information on Service Animals can be found on the ADA website.


The Student Code of Conduct, Section 5800, Pets/Animals in Residence Halls, states that “Reasonable indicators of or possession of an animal other than approved and properly attended service animals and emotional support animals for individuals with documented disabilities or non-dangerous fish that are in tanks no larger than 30 gallons within the residence halls.” A pet is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. Pets are not covered by the assistance animal policy.