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  • Service Animals: Under Title II and Title III of the ADA, a service animal means 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.
  • Emotional Support Animals: Not all animals that individuals with a disability rely on meet the definition of a service animal for purposes of ADA.  According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an emotional support animal is any animal that provides emotional support alleviating one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Emotional support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Emotional support animals are not limited to dogs.
  • Therapy Animals: Therapy animals provide people with healing contact, typically in an institutional or clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. While these types of animals receive extensive training and may interact with all sorts of people, including an individual with a disability, they are not trained to perform a specific task for an individual with a disability.

Administrative Approval: The use of an animal or animals must be approved by the superintendent.

It is the policy of Community School District to foster an equal education environment for all students, employees and community members within the district.  The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to the district on the proper use of assistance animals while on district property.  The district shall allow the use of qualified service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in all areas of district buildings where the public is normally allowed to go. This can include classrooms, cafeteria and school buses.  Individuals with disabilities are people who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  Service animals are dogs and in some instances miniature horses trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities.

Service animals must be current on all required vaccinations.  Service animals also must be under control while on district grounds.  The animal may be under control by either the individual with a disability, or a handler of the service.  Under control means harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work, in which case under voice or other directive control.

Miniature Horses as Service Animals

Miniature horses shall be allowed as service animals within the district whenever it is reasonable to allow them.  Factors to consider when determining reasonableness include:  whether the miniature horse is house broken; whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size and weight; and whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

Establishing the Need for a Service Animal

When no prior notice is given to the district of the use of a service animal, the Superintendent and/or school administrators are permitted to ask the following questions:

“Do you need/require this animal because of a disability?”
If the animal’s trained tasks are not readily apparent, the administrator may ask:  
“What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?”

Service Animals in training

Assuming the handler and animal are otherwise allowed, individuals who train service animals will also be allowed access with their service animal in training to public areas of district buildings and property.  The service animal in training is expected to abide by the same requirements as a service or assistive animal.

Exclusion of Service Animals

In certain limited circumstances, it may be reasonable to exclude the use of a service animal from district property. The Superintendent is permitted to exclude service animals from district buildings and property in the following circumstances:  The presence of the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others; the owner or handler is unable to control the animal; the animal is not house broken; the presence of the animal significantly disrupts or interferes with the educational process; or the presence of the animal would require a fundamental alteration to the program.  If a service animal is properly excluded from district property, the district shall provide the student served by the animal the opportunity to participate in the program, service or activity without having the service animal on district property.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals are medically prescribed to provide therapeutic benefit through dedicated companionship. Emotional support animals’ sole function is to provide emotional support or comfort. Therapy animals are involved in an animal-assisted therapy program involving animals as a form of treatment. Emotional support animals and therapy animals do not meet the definition of service animals. They will be considered on a case-by-case basis but are not typically permitted.

Therapy Dogs

Professional School Therapy Dogs certified with their owners/handlers as Certified Assistance Dog Teams provide emotional and physical support in the educational setting. These highly trained dogs model good behavior, tolerance, and acceptance. All certified Assistance Dog Teams in the Nevada Community School District work to support and positively influence student achievement.

  1. Professional Therapy Dogs – definition
    1. Professional therapy dogs are dogs trained and tested to provide specific physical or therapeutic functions under the direction and control of a qualified handler who works with the dog as a team, and as a part of the handler’s occupation or profession.A professional therapy dog has been temperament tested by a trainer affiliated with an organization recognized as qualified to do temperament training.
      1. Such dogs, with their handlers, perform such functions in institutional settings, community-based group settings, or when providing services to specific persons who have disabilities.
    2. Professional therapy dogs have passed a Certification Test administered by a trainer/evaluator recognized by Nevada CSD for this purpose.Professional therapy dogs are owned by a professional educator in Nevada CSD who wishes to use a professional therapy dog to augment his/her educational program.All costs are the responsibility of the owner and if the owner leaves the district, the dog goes with them.
    3. Professional Therapy Dogs may be used in the school setting on a regular basis when the following documentation is in place;

Health Records and Hygiene/Animal Care

The owner/handler must provide a record of annual vaccinations received by the dog and signed by a veterinarian; these health records should be kept on file in the school building and in the Superintendent’s office.

  1. The dog should receive a Bordetella vaccination annually; rabies vaccinations and five-way parvo/distemper (DHPP) shall be updated every three years. Please note: dogs less than one year of age or receiving their rabies and parvo vaccinations for the first time shall receive a follow-up vaccine in one year, with vaccinations every three years thereafter.
  2. The dog should be given a comprehensive wormer or fecal check for worms annually.
  3. The dog should be checked for external parasite control.
  4. All owners will give preventive parasite (fleas and ticks) control and heartworm medication year-round. Annual tests for heartworm are required. Prevention should be non-toxic in nature, which is important in a school environment.
  5. The dog should be groomed and bathed regularly. For dogs in a working environment, monthly to by-monthly baths are recommended as is a daily brushing. (Good judgement should be based on the dog’s hair, skin, and dander concerns.) The owner/handler must also ensure proper health care through regular (several times weekly) brushing of the dog’s teeth, regular nail trimming as needed, and weekly cleaning/checks of the dog’s ears.

Public Access Test Documentation

A copy of the certification of completion should be kept on file in the school building and in the Superintendent’s office. Records of advanced obedience, agility, or other training may be kept updated in the
employee’s file.

Proof of Insurance

The privilege to bring the dog into the school setting may be terminated should the handler or dog behave in a way deemed unprofessional or unsafe.  When an educator uses a professional therapy dog according to the above guidelines, the educator will be covered by their private insurance policy.

Legal Reference:

29 U.S.C. §794
42 U.S.C. §12132
28 C.F.R.   35
Iowa Code §216C

Approved: April 3, 2023

Reviewed: March 6, 2023