UMMC Policy and Procedure Manual E-AA-GEN-GEN-PO-00047
Subject: Service Animals for Students with Disabilities
Revised Date: 11/3/2020 Effective Date: 4/25/2019
Prepared By:
Daphne K Secrest
Approved By:
Ralph H. Didlake

Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


REVIEW PERIOD: Three years

TITLE: Service Animals for Students with Disabilities


The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities and fulfilling obligations under State and Federal law. This Policy governs the use of service animals on campus by students with disabilities.


Students with disabilities may be accompanied by working service animals on the campus of UMMC consistent with the provisions of this Policy. 


Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Service animal: Pursuant to federal law, UMMC recognizes “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).  Pursuant to that law, a service animal is defined as 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. 

In addition, UMMC recognizes federal law defining “Service Animals” to include a miniature horse if 1) the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a student with a disability and 2) the miniature horse meets the assessment factors (see Section IV).

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 student’s disability. 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.


In determining whether reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures can be made to allow a miniature horse into a specific facility, UMMC shall consider the following factors:

• The facility can accommodate the type, size (24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders), and weight (between 70 and 100 pounds) of the miniature horse;

• The student has sufficient control of the miniature horse;

• The miniature horse is housebroken; and

• The miniature horse's presence in a specific facility does not compromise legitimate safety requirements that are necessary for safe operation.

V. Service Animal Use on Campus

A student with a disability who utilizes a service animal may access all public facilities, classrooms, offices, or other areas of campus buildings not open to the general public with the exception of areas where service animals are restricted (see Section VIII).

A student with a disability who wishes to utilize a service animal is encouraged but not required to register with the Office of Academic Support. Students are encouraged to register with the Office of Academic Support for access to resources, information, and advocacy around a range of disability-related dynamics, including service animals. Registration is required for any student who wishes to use a miniature horse in UMMC facilities.

VI. General Requirements

Service animals on campus must comply with all state and local licensure and vaccination requirements.

The care and supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the student who uses the animal’s service. The student must maintain control of the animal at all times. The student using the animal’s service is responsible for ensuring the cleanup of all animal waste and for any damage caused by the animal.  The cleanup of animal waste inside the hospital should be handled in accordance with UMMC policy A-IP-GEN-GEN-PO-00053.

VII. Removal of Service Animals

A service animal may be removed from UMMC facilities or grounds if disruptive (e.g., barking, wandering, displaying aggressive behavior) and the behavior is outside the duties of the service animal. A service animal may be removed from UMMC facilities or grounds if ill, unhygienic, and/or unsanitary. The student responsible for such an animal may be required to remove the animal.

VIII. Restricted Areas

UMMC may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health restrictions, safety restrictions, where service animals may be in danger, where their use may compromise the integrity of research or patient care, or where patients have declined in accordance with UMMC policy A-IP-GEN-GEN-PO-00047. Service animals are prohibited in the areas and conditions listed in UMMC policy A-IP-GEN-GEN-PO-00053. Additional restricted areas include but are not limited to research laboratories, nuclear research areas, classrooms and other areas with demonstration/research animals, medical surgical areas, and patient care areas with requirements for critical care, isolation, or sterility.

IX. Clarifying Animal Status

UMMC employees should not question a student about an accompanying service animal if the student’s disability is readily apparent and the function of the accompanying animal is clear.

In the unusual circumstance when an inquiry must be made to determine whether an animal is a service animal, a UMMC employee may only ask two questions:

• Whether the animal is required because of a disability; and,

• What work or task the animal is trained to perform.

UMMC employees shall not ask any questions about the student's disability.

Although a service animal may sometimes be identified by an identification card, harness, cape, or backpack, such identifiers are not required and should not be requested or demanded for any service animal on campus.

X. Interacting with Service Animals

Service animals work and perform tasks and are not pets. Accordingly, members of the UMMC community should adhere to the following best practices when interacting with service animals:

• Do not touch or feed a service animal unless invited to do so;

• Do not deliberately distract or startle a service animal; and,

• Do not separate or attempt to separate a service animal from the student using the animal's service.

In emergency situations involving smoke, fire, sirens, or injury, a service animal may become stressed and exhibit protective behavior. Be aware that service animals may try to communicate the need for help. Make every effort to avoid separating the animal from the student using the animal’s service in emergency situations.

XI. Policy Implementation

The Office of Academic Support in the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is the designated office for managing this policy. Students or others with questions or concerns about this policy should contact the Office of Academic Support for assistance.

SCOPE: All UMMC schools


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USCA § 701)

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USCA §§ 12101 et. seq.)

Americans with Disabilities Act and the ADA Amendments Act (P.L. 110-325)

UMMC Policy A-IP-GEN-GEN-PO-00047: Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities

UMMC Policy A-IP-GEN-GEN-PO-00053: Service Animals