Service & Assistance Animals

Service Animals

Vincennes University has adopted the following definition from the U. S. Department of Justice. "Service animals are defined as dogs (or miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include (but are not limited to) guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability." 

Vincennes University is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. It is the policy of Vincennes University that service animals assisting students and other individuals with disabilities are generally permitted in all VU facilities and programs that are open to the general public, unless health or safety is an issue (see other exceptions below.)  Vincennes University requests that all service animals be fitted with some form of identifying equipment such as a vest, harness, cape, or backpack while working so others can quickly recognize this is a service animal. Unfortunately, some people are unfamiliar with the role of service animals and mistake them for pets, and the use of identifying equipment for a service animal helps to dispel this mistaken belief. 

Assistance Animals

Animals whose sole function is to provide therapy, comfort or emotional support to individuals with disabilities do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not permitted in most classrooms and other Vincennes University facilities. However, as mandated by the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) emotional support animals may be allowed to reside with a qualified student with a disability in campus residential facilities. Even though they are not covered under federal law, Vincennes University does allow approved therapy and comfort animals to live with a student, with a documented disability, Therapy, comfort and emotional support animals may be brought into campus residential facilities, upon approval, from the office of Disability Services, and completion of the required registration process. 


Vincennes University reserves the right to request that an animal be removed from University property if it is taken into a restricted area, it poses a health or safety risk, the handler fails to keep it under appropriate control, it is not housebroken, or for breach of the signed animal agreement. Service and assistance animals, residing in university housing, are also subject to the hall disciplinary processes outlined in the Residence Hall Handbook.

Vincennes University reserves the right to determine on a case-by-case basis whether an animal qualifies as a service or other assistance animal, and if it is a reasonable accommodation for a student with a documented disability.  A wild or exotic animal, one that is inherently dangerous or destructive, or that poses a greater risk of attack or disease to other residents may be denied based on this individualized assessment. Animals deemed as illegal to own by state and federal law will be denied.

A service animal may also be excluded when the presence of an animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity, or presents a danger to the animal or other individuals. Examples may include, but are not limited to research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, and food preparation areas.

Registering Service & Assistance Animals

In classrooms and campus facilitiesa service animal may accompany a student with a disability in every classroom and campus facility that is open to the general public, without the need to register the service animal. However, please provide advance notification of your use of a service animal to the Vincennes University office of Disability Services, an administrator on the Vincennes University campus of attendance, or the faculty member of the class attended to assist us in preparing a safe and healthy environment for you, your animal and others. We also ask that all service animals wear a vest, harness, cape, or backpack at all times while working so others can quickly recognize this is a service animal as opposed to another type of assistance animal or pet. 

In campus housing:  if a student desires to have a service/assistance animal (service, therapy, comfort, or emotional support) reside in campus housing facilities, approval of the animal must be granted by the office of Disability Services prior to bringing the animal to live in the facility. The student will be required to produce required documentation see Documentation Requirements for Service/Assistance Animal Housing Accommodations.

Service animals accompanying visitors with disabilities are welcome in all areas of campus that are open to the general public, unless health or safety is an issue. A service animal that accompanies a visitor should also be fitted with some form of identifying equipment such as a vest, harness, cape, or backpack while working, so others can quickly recognize this is a service animal and not mistaken for being a pet.