Bucknell University recognizes the importance of Service Animals to individuals with disabilities and provides this policy to govern the presence of Service Animals on campus.

Below you will find information about the following:

  • Definitions
  • Service Animals in University Housing 
  • Conflicting Health Conditions
  • Owner’s Responsibilities in University Housing
  • Maintaining a Service Animal at Bucknell University
  • Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the University Community
  • Removal of a Service Animal
  • Damage
  • Areas Off Limits to Services Animals



A disability is 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 (Department of Justice)

A “Service Animal” is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Dogs may be permitted as a Service Animal. Other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as Service Animals.

  • The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, or pulling a wheelchair.
  • Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, or companionship do not qualify as Service Animals.

Emotional Support Animal

“Emotional Support Animals” are animals that provide emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. There must be an identifiable and medically indicated relationship between the individual's disability and the emotional support the animal provides. Unlike a Service Animal, an Emotional Support Animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living.


A Pet is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered a Service or Emotional Support Animal. Please review the Animals on Campus and in Campus Buildings policy for further information.


The “Owner” is the member of the Bucknell University community with a disability who has a Service Animal.

Service Animals in University Housing

  • It is best practice that an individual with a Service Animal with intention of residing in University housing reach out to the OAR and/or Housing Services. The University will be able to assign the student to the most appropriate housing location.
  • Service Animals do NOT require documentation of a disability.
  • Upon awareness of a Service Animal, residential building staff will be notified as appropriate.
  • In the event that one or more roommates do not approve of residing with a Service Animal, either the Owner and Service Animal or the non-approving roommates, as determined by Housing Services, may be moved to a different location.
  • It is best practice that the Service Animal be registered so that residential building staff as well as staff in facilities are aware of in case of an emergency or work needing to be done to the room.

When it is not readily apparent that the animal is a Service Animal, Bucknell University employees are asked to make two inquiries to determine whether the animal qualifies as a Service Animal, which are:

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

Conflicting Health Conditions

Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact the OAR if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a Service Animal. The University is prepared to also reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities who will be impacted when living in proximity to Service Animals.

Owner's Responsibilities in University Housing

  • The Owner is responsible for ensuring that the Service Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.
  • The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Service Animal including bodily injury or property damage (e.g., replacement of furniture, carpet, window and wall coverings etc.). The Owner will be required to reimburse the University for these costs, as well as any expenses incurred by the University for cleaning required as a result of the Service Animal. The University may bill the Owner’s student account for these costs.
  • Service Animals may travel freely with their owner throughout University Housing and most other areas of the University (please see Areas off Limits to Service Animals).
  • Service Animals may not be left overnight in University Housing to be cared for by another student. An Owner leaving campus for a prolonged period must remove the Service Animal from campus.
  • The University is not responsible for a Service Animal during a fire alarm, fire drill, or natural disaster.
  • Housing Services may relocate Owners and Service Animals to other housing consistent with University policy.
  • Owners must continue to abide by all other residential policies.
  • Any violation of this policy may result in immediate removal of the Service Animal from the University.
  • Should the Service Animal be removed from the University for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill the housing obligations for the remainder of the academic year.
  • The Owner must comply with animal health and wellbeing requirements.

Maintaining a Service Animal at Bucknell University

Care and Supervision

Care and supervision of the Service Animal are the responsibility of the Owner who is required to maintain control of the animal at all times.

The Owner is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the Service Animal's waste and must toilet the Service Animal in outdoor areas designated by the University consistent with the reasonable capacity of the Owner. All animal waste must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in the appropriately labeled outside trash containers. All bathing/washing care of Service Animals must take place off campus.

If the Owner is unable to ensure cleanup of the Service Animal, please contact OAR and a plan will be established.

Animal Health and Well-being

  • Vaccination: The Service Animal must be immunized against diseases. Service Animals must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Local licensing requirements are followed.
  • Health: Service Animals should be in good health and provided care from a licensed veterinarian. The University has authority to direct that the Service Animal receive veterinary attention if deemed necessary.
  • Training: Service Animals must be properly trained.
  • Leash: A Service Animal must be on a leash, unless the leash would inhibit the animal's ability to be of service.

Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students and Other Members of the University Community

  • They are to allow a Service Animal to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus, except where specifically prohibited (please see Areas off Limits to Service Animals).
  • They are not to touch or pet a Service Animal unless invited to do so.
  • They are not to feed a Service Animal.
  • They are not to deliberately startle or otherwise taunt a Service Animal.
  • They are not to separate or to attempt to separate an Owner from his or her Service Animal.
  • They are not to inquire regarding the nature of the Owner's disability.

Removal of a Service Animal

The University may exclude/remove a Service Animal if 1) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, 2) the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the University's programming, 3) the Owner fails to adhere to this policy, or 4) the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance in or interference with the Bucknell community.


Owners of Service Animals are solely responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by their animals.

Areas Off Limits to Service Animals

The University may prohibit the use of Service Animals in certain locations because of health and safety restrictions (e.g. where the animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research). Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to: custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary, wood and metal shops, motor pools, rooms with heavy machinery, and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals.

Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the OAR.