2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 
    Apr 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 [ARCHIVED COPY]

Assistance Animals

Policy Number:
Effective Date: April 18, 2023
Revision History: Reviewed May 26, 2016
Policy Contact: Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students; Director of Payroll and Benefits

I. Purpose and Policy Statement

Georgia Gwinnett College (“GGC”) is committed to making reasonable accommodation to afford people with disabilities an equal opportunity to access its programs, services, and activities. This policy covers the requirements for permitting Assistance Animals at GGC.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all GGC students and employees.

III. Definitions

Pet: A “pet” is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals, as defined below, are not considered pets. Pets are prohibited indoors on the Georgia Gwinnett College campus.

Service Animal: A “Service Animal” means any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the person’s disability. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purpose of this definition.

Service Animal in Training: While a Service Animal is being trained, it is a “Service Animal in Training.”

Emotional Support Animal: An “Emotional Support Animal” is an animal that provides emotional support that eases one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Unlike Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals are not trained to perform work or tasks, and they include species other than dogs and miniature horses.

Assistance Animal: “Assistance Animals” include all Service Animals, Service Animals in Training, and Emotional Support Animals.

IV. Compliance
  1. Service Animals
    1. Service animals will be permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of GGC’s facilities where students, members of the public, and other participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go, including laboratories and the cafeteria, without prior approval or registration. GGC does not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal. Institutional representatives may not require a Service Animal to demonstrate its trained tasks or inquire about the disability status of the animal’s owner. GGC cannot ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability to determine whether a person’s animal qualifies as a Service Animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that a dog is a Service Animal, GGC faculty and staff may make two inquiries to determine whether the dog qualifies as a Service Animal, which are:
      1. Is the Service Animal required because of a disability?
      2. What work or task has the Service Animal been trained to perform?
    2. A dog/miniature horse that exhibits behavior inconsistent with a trained Service Animal, or an individual handler who fails to maintain control of the dog/miniature horse, may result in the institution being allowed to revisit the question of whether the animal is a Service Animal.
    3. For additional information, please contact the appropriate office below:
      1. For students: Office of Disability Services
      2. For employees: Payroll and Benefits
  2. Service Animal in Training
    1. Georgia law allows Service Animals in Training to access GGC Facilities. The owner of a Service Animal in Training must follow the GGC registration procedure. Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 30-4-2) allows trainers of Service Animals to be accompanied by the Service Animal in Training, but documentation from the training facility must be provided and Service Animal in Training must have the appropriate required exams and vaccinations.
    2. For additional information, please contact the appropriate office below:
      1. For students: Office of Disability Services
      2. For employees: Payroll and Benefits
  3. Emotional Support Animals
    1. Emotional Support Animals are not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in all areas of GGC, but they may reside in Student Housing with people who have disabilities and who have followed the required procedures for registration of the Emotional Support Animal each semester. Before an Emotional Support Animal can move into GGC Student Housing, a request must be submitted to GGC’s Disability Services office and approval must be granted (preferably 2 weeks prior to move in). Requests must include documentation stating general identifying information about the Emotional Support Animal and about the person with a disability requesting the Emotional Support Animal. Documentation must be from a provider who has a relationship with the individual and specific knowledge of the individual’s need along with information addressing whether the student has a disability that warrants an Emotional Support Animal. The full documentation criteria and procedures are set forth on the GGC website.
    2. Georgia Gwinnett College will permit Emotional Support Animals in Housing as an accommodation for residents (students or employees) with disabilities who meet the legal requirements for such animal under the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”), 42 U.S.C.A. § 3604(f), which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).​
V. Responsibility
  1. GGC is not responsible for the care or supervision of Assistance Animals. People with Assistance Animals are responsible for the cost, care, and supervision of Assistance Animals, including:
    1. Compliance with any laws pertaining to animal licensing, vaccination, and owner identification;
    2. Keeping the animal under control and taking effective action when it is out of control; and
    3. Feeding and walking the animal, and disposing of its waste. Owners are required to bag waste and dispose of it in outdoor receptacle bins/dumpsters. Owners may not use the building internal trash chutes.
  2. GGC will not require any surcharges or fees for Assistance Animals. However, a person with a disability may be charged for damage caused by an Assistance Animal to the same extent that GGC would normally charge a person for the damage they cause.
  3. People with disabilities who are accompanied by Assistance Animals must comply with the same College rules regarding noise, safety, disruption, and cleanliness as people without disabilities.​
VI. Exceptions and Exclusion
  1. GGC may pose some restrictions on, and may even exclude, Assistance Animals in certain instances. Restrictions or exclusions will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable laws, but an animal may be excluded if:
    1. It is out of control and effective action is not taken to control it;
    2. It is not housebroken (or in the case of an Assistance Animal that deposits waste in a designated cage or litter box, the owner fails to clean such cage or box such that the cleanliness of the room is not maintained); or,
    3. It poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be mitigated by reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services.
  2. In considering whether an animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, GGC will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment, current medical knowledge, or the best available objective evidence, to determine: (1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; (2) the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and (3) whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.
  3. In the event that restriction or removal of an Assistance Animal is determined to be necessary, the person with a disability will still be given the opportunity to participate in the service, program, or activity without having the Assistance Animal present. Students may also contact Disability Services and employees may contact Payroll and Benefits to reevaluate their reasonable accommodation(s).
  4. If removal of an Emotional Support Animal is required from Housing, the owner will be notified in writing that the Emotional Support Animal must be removed from campus. The owner will be given 48 business hours to make arrangements for removal. If the owner does not comply, the College will remove the animal and relinquish to a local animal shelter. The owner shall have the right to appeal the removal to the Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. This appeal must be submitted in writing within 24 hours of notice of removal. The appeal will be heard within 24 business hours and the written decision will be provided to the owner. The decision of the Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students will be the final institutional decision.
  5. Removal of an Assistance Animal does not release a student from any housing contractual obligations.
VII. Etiquette for Members of GGC Community
  1. To ensure equal access and nondiscrimination of people with disabilities, members of the GGC community must abide by the following practices:
    1. Allow Assistance Animals to accompany people with disabilities on campus where permitted;
    2. Do not ask for details about a person’s disabilities;
    3. Do not pet an Assistance Animal, as it distracts the animal from its work;
    4. Do not feed an Assistance Animal;
    5. Do not deliberately startle, tease, or taunt an Assistance Animal; and,
    6. Do not separate or attempt to separate a person from his/her Assistance Animal.
  2. If you have a disability that may be affected by the presence of animals, students please contact the Office of Disability Services and employees please contact Payroll and Benefits. GGC is committed to ensuring that the needs of all people with disabilities are met and will determine how to resolve any conflicts or problems as expeditiously as possible.