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Education of Students with Disabilities : Federal and State Laws: Service and Assistance Animals


Service animals in public schools (K-12) – The ADA permits a student with a disability who uses a service animal to have the animal at school. See Taking a Service Animal to School from the ADA National Network. In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act allow a student to use an animal that does not meet the ADA definition of a service animal if that student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 team decides the animal is necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate education.

Service animals in postsecondary education settings – Under the ADA, colleges and universities must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or to students.

Colleges and universities may have a policy asking students who use service animals to contact the school’s Disability Services Coordinator to register as a student with a disability. Higher education institutions may not require any documentation about the training or certification of a service animal. They may, however, require proof that a service animal has any vaccinations required by state or local laws that apply to all animals.  See Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals from the ADA National Network.

Books at the Franklin County Law Library

Books at the Franklin County Law Library. They may be checked out by Central Ohio attorneys. Everyone else can use them in the Library.


Under Title II and III of the ADA, service animals are limited to dogs. However, entities must make reasonable modifications in policies to allow individuals with disabilities to use miniature horses if they have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. See Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals from the ADA Network.