Library Policies
Service Animal Policy

Library Board policy as of April 10, 2024.

Policies > Service Animal Policy

The Library complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for service animals. In the event that State or Federal requirements are updated or come into conflict with Library policy, those requirements take precedence.

Individuals with disabilities may bring their service animals to the Library. Non-service animals, including pets or emotional support animals, are not allowed in any area of the Library.

Asking About a Service Animal

Library staff will not ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability, nor will they require documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.

Library staff may ask the following questions to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service animal:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff will not ask these questions if it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.

Definition of “Service Animal”

The ADA defines “service animal” to mean the following:

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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

Identification and Training

In accordance with ADA regulations, the Library does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific type of harness, or to be trained by a professional. The Library does not require documentation or proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal.

Multiple Service Animals

Multiple service animals are allowed provided they follow all the other requirements of service animals and service animal behavior.

Non-Service (Emotional Support, Therapy, or Comfort) Animals

These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

For example, a dog trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen, and to take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, would qualify as a service animal.
If the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal.

Service Animals in Training

Service animals in training are not considered service animals.
The ADA requires that animals already be trained before they are considered service animals.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

A service animal must be under the control of its handler at all times when inside the Library.

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the individual’s disability prevents using these devices or these devices interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of tasks. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly.

Individuals will be asked to remove a service animal from the premises if the animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, has a history of such behavior, is not under the control of the handler, or if the animal is not housebroken.

Damages Caused by Service Animals

An individual with a disability may be charged for damage caused by their service animal in cases where the Library would normally charge individuals for damages.

Removing a Service Animal

A person with a disability will be asked to remove their service animal from the premises in the following circumstances:

  • The animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it
  • The animal is not housebroken

If Library staff ask that a service animal be removed, they will offer the person with the disability reasonable opportunity to obtain materials or services without the animal’s presence.
For example, curbside pickup may be used to provide materials.

Allergies and Fear of Dogs

Library staff will not ask that a service animal be removed due to allergies, fear of dogs, or complaints from other patrons. Wherever possible, Library staff will accommodate both patrons by finding space for them in different areas of the Library.

Events and Programs

In cases where a service animal’s presence would fundamentally alter the nature of an event, program, or other activity, the service animal may be prohibited. For example, a high-energy children’s program where the presence of a dog would be disruptive and may cause the animal to behave aggressively or become agitated.

Interfering with Normal Library Use

In the event that a service animal is actively bothering, acting as a threat, or otherwise interfering with the ability of other patrons to access, use, or enjoy the Library, the person with a disability will be asked to control their animal. If they are unable to do so, the animal will be considered out of control, they will be asked to remove the animal from the premises.