Wellesley College is committed to providing employees with disabilities equal access to the College’s programs, services, and activities. Service animals are the primary animals that are welcome on campus. However, other animals may be approved through the College’s disability accommodation process.

The following policy is designed to provide guidance with regard to service animals. It may also serve as a guide if another type of animal is approved to be on campus as a specific disability-related accommodation. All animals are subject to reasonable restrictions and/or considerations allowed by law. Animals that are solely pets of employees and/or guests and kept for companionship are only permitted on the Wellesley campus in public outdoor spaces and are not permitted inside any indoor spaces owned or controlled by the College.

Employee and guest pet owners are expected to keep their animal with them and on a leash at all times and to clean up after their animals. If you have any questions about this policy or its application, you are encouraged to contact the Human Resources office (working@wellesley.edu; 781-283-3202). If you need assistance with a disability accommodation, please contact the Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources (accessibility@wellesley.edu; 781-283-2434).

I. Service Animals

A service animal is defined as a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The College does not require documentation prior to bringing a service animal to campus, but the College requests that service animal owners notify the College of the service animal’s presence in advance of coming to campus so that appropriate accommodations and safety measures can be put in place to create a safe environment for all. For example, if a service animal is going to be present in the workplace, the College has a responsibility to ensure that others in close proximity are not allergic to the service animal and, if they are allergic, to provide appropriate accommodations.

Service animals are generally permitted to accompany their owners in all areas of campus including offices, housing, and classrooms in accordance with the Owner Responsibilities outlined in this policy. However, service animals may be restricted from certain spaces when their presence would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity occurring in the space, or where the animal’s presence would pose a threat to the health or safety of others. The Director of Accessibility and Disability Resources will make the determination, on a case-by-case basis, regarding whether the service animal should be restricted from a specific area for these reasons. If a location is restricted for a service animal, the College will initiate a process to explore alternate reasonable accommodations.

Owners are encouraged to have their service animals wear an identifying vest or other indication of their role as a service animal to ensure that College community members understand and respect the role of such working animals. In situations where it is not obvious that the animal is a service animal, College staff may ask whether: (1) the animal is a service animal required because of a disability and; (2) whether the service animal has been trained to perform a task related to the disability. Employees should not inquire about the nature of the person’s disability, request documentation for the service animal, or request that the service animal demonstrate its skills.

Any other animal that is not a service animal must be requested through the disability-related accommodation process found on the ADR website.

II. Owner Responsibilities for Service Animals on Campus

The “owner” of a service animal is defined as the individual with the disability who is the primary handler of that animal. In order to maintain a service animal on campus, the owner must comply with all of the following conditions. Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in the removal of the animal from campus.

  1. The owner will be responsible for the conduct of the animal at all times.
  2. The animal must be under the control of the owner at all times, either on a leash, harness or other tether. When the owner is not present on campus, the animal must be taken with them or placed in an appropriate crate or carrier.
  3. The animal must not adversely impact routine activities on campus or be disruptive to the work environment. If disruptive behavior occurs, the owner is expected to utilize appropriate humane techniques to deal with the behavior immediately. Examples of disruptive behavior include but are not limited to excessive barking, scratching, or growling.
  4. The animal cannot pose a threat to the health or safety of others. The owner is responsible for any injury to others or damage to property caused by the animal.
  5. The animal must be well cared for, clean, and be in good health. The care of the animal is the sole responsibility of the owner.
  6. The animal’s vaccinations (including for rabies) must be kept current. The animal must be licensed as required by the town of Wellesley. The owner may be required to provide proof of vaccination and licensing to the College.
  7. If the owner keeps the animal in campus housing, an office, or a shared space, the owner must maintain these spaces with the animal in a clean and sanitary condition and control odors. The College reserves the right to inspect the locations where the animal will be kept to ensure that sanitary and safe conditions are being maintained. The owner will be financially responsible for any expenses required for cleaning beyond routine maintenance. For example, if the animal defecates in an office space, the College shall have the right to bill the owner for necessary costs to clean/maintain the space.
  8. The animal must be housebroken or maintained in a manner where waste can be contained and cleaned up. All waste must be disposed of properly.
  9. The owner must provide flea and tick control for the animal at all times (as applicable). If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected in the residence through routine inspection, they will be addressed by a College-approved pest control service. The owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment beyond standard pest management at the College. The College shall have the right to bill the owner for unmet obligations under this provision.
  10. The owner may not leave the animal for extended periods or overnight. If the owner is leaving campus for more than a few hours, the animal must accompany the owner. The owner may not leave the animal in the care of others while on campus. The animal must be kept in an appropriate crate or carrier when the owner is not present.
  11. The animal may not pose an undue financial or administrative burden to the College
  12. The owner agrees to continue to abide by all other residential and College policies.
  13. The owner understands that the animals is their personal property and the College is not liable for any theft, loss, or injury to the animal.

The owner’s failure to comply with these responsibilities can result in the removal of the animal from campus. Any member of the College community may submit a complaint about a Service Animal believed to be in violation of the requirements of this policy. Complaints can be submitted to the Office of Accessibility and Disability Resources (accessibility@wellesley.edu; 781-283-2434) or to the College’s 504 Coordinator (titleix@wellesley.edu; 781-283-2451), who will determine the appropriate process to address the concerns. Retaliation against anyone submitting a complaint or reporting concerns under this Policy or otherwise participating in a College inquiry or investigation is prohibited.

At the College’s discretion, the owner may be given notice of the concern or failure to comply with the policy and may be given a reasonable time to correct the violation. The College also may immediately remove an animal from campus, while a review is pending, if the animal poses a risk of harm to others. In the case of removal, the College will consider carefully all rules and laws regarding the animal in question. In particular, the College will make extensive efforts to ensure that service animal owners can successfully maintain their animals on campus.