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Student Disability Resource Center

Accommodating Animals on Campus

This information is designed to provide the campus community with a working knowledge of the University’s guidelines on disability-related animals on campus. If you have questions, please contact the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) at or (803) 777-6142.


  Service Animal Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
Purpose Trained* to provide an active task (e.g. environment navigation) that mitigates impact of handler’s disability. Provide passive support
(e.g. handler’s relationship with animal) to mitigate impact of handler’s disability.
Species Restrictions Dogs (or rarely,
miniature horses).
Species deemed safe for the environment and community.
for Handler
to Submit
Request for

No approval, request, documentation, or proof of training is required. If a service animal’s role is not apparent, you can ask the handler:

(1) “Is that a service animal for a disability?” and

(2) “What service does it perform for you?”

Handler must make
request for a reasonable accommodation. This
request requires the
handler to provide the
University supporting
documentation from a medical professional
(SDRC documentation requirements)
Accessible to
Generally anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus (exceptions may exist for health/safety; if a concern, consult with SDRC staff. Specific campus areas,
after University approval. This is typically the
handler’s housing
facility, but does not
preclude requests for
other areas on campus.

Animal Behavior Expectations

All animals are the responsibility of their handlers and should be under their control and housebroken. An animal’s behavior is considered the handler’s behavior; the animal will be held to the same basic standard of conduct as their handlers. If they are disruptive to university business or community behavioral expectations, handlers may be asked to correct the animal’s behavior or remove it from the environment. 

Service Animals In Training

Service Animals in Training are not recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act, however they are recognized by the state of South Carolina as Service Animals.
According to state statute (1) ‘service-animal-in-training' means an animal accompanying a trainer of a service animal while the animal is being trained as a service animal, and (2) trainer of a service animal' means a person who individually trains a service animal. Service Animals in Training must be under control.

In South Carolina, state law allows a service dog in-training the same rights to enter a place of public accommodation. Normally a service dog’s training involves training about behavior as well as the disability task or tasks it does for its owner. Typically, puppy rearing (under six months of age) focused on socialization and general obedience training is not considered Service Animal training.

There is no state or federal licensing system or any specific card to show that a dog is a “service dog.” Some trainers will issue cards. There is no requirement that the dog wear any kind of identification or jacket, though some owners of service dogs use them. 

(Excerpted from The Ohio State University’s Student Life Disability Services, Winthrop University Office of Accessibility, Disability Rights South Carolina Assistance Animals Guide, South Carolina Senate Bill 281) 

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