Service Animals

A dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability


A service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.

These tasks can include things like, but are not limited to:

  • pulling a wheelchair
  • guiding a person who is visually impaired
  • alerting a person who is having a seizure

The work or task a service dog (or in some cases a miniature horse) does must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Allowed Locations

Service dogs may accompany persons with disabilities into places that the public normally goes.

  • This includes businesses open to the public and public transportation.
  • At Penn State, this includes residence halls, classrooms, the library, dining halls, etc.

The law that allows a trained service dog to accompany a person with a disability is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Per Penn State’s University Policy AD66,

Student Disability Resources is involved in student requests to have a service animal on campus, in classrooms, and in housing facilities.

Procedure for use

To provide notice that a service animal will accompany a student on campus:

  1. Contact Student Disability Resources to schedule an appointment to discuss the work or task the dog has been trained to perform along with owner responsibilities
  2. If the service animal will reside in campus housing, consult Housing and Food Services's (HFS) procedure for service and emotional support animals
Related content
  • Emotional Support Animals
    An animal that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship to individuals with psychological disorders and other mental impairments
  • Assistance Animals
    Types of assistance animals; what is allowed on campus; and how to go about requesting to have an assistance animal on campus with you