Animals on USG Property
Administration | Approved January 2019
I. Purpose and Applicability
The purpose of this Policy is to provide a safe and healthy campus environment for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors as it relates to animals on the USG campus. In keeping with this objective, USG realizes that owners of pets and/or domesticated animals may have reasons to bring their animals to certain public areas of the campus and that wild animals may frequent or select the USG campus grounds as their habitat. This policy protects the USG community from hazards associated with domesticated or wild animals and optimizes the safety and health of the campus community.
Exceptions may be made to this policy, on a case-by-case basis, as required by applicable laws or for animals brought onto campus for pre-approved USG events. Exceptions will be allowed on campus only for the day(s) of the events and must have prior approval from the Event Coordinator and the USG Safety & Security Manager.
- Wild animals: non-domesticated animals living in their natural a habitat.
- Domesticated Animals: animals sufficiently tame to live on a farm, but that are not cared for in the home, as companions.
- Pets: animals sufficiently tame to live with a family and that are kept and cared for at or within the home, as companions. Pets are animals kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is not considered an Assistance, Service, Psychiatric Service, or Support/Comfort Animal.
- Assistance Animals or Service Animals: working animals, not pets. They work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or are animals that provide emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.
- Psychiatric Service Animals: trained to help a person accomplish necessary tasks and to protect them from harm. For example, a Psychiatric Service Animal may help someone with anxiety by bringing medication or by providing water to help swallow medication during an anxiety attack.
- Support/Comfort Animals: animals that provide emotional or other support and comfort to their owners. They must provide emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptom(s) of a person’s disability. Animals that do not alleviate one or more identified symptoms of a person’s disability are considered to be pets.
- Pet Owner: persons in possession, control, custody, supervision, or guardianship of a pet animal.
- Domesticated Animal Owner: persons in possession, control, custody, supervision, or guardianship of a domesticated animal.
III. Policy Statement
A. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, persons with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations for an Assistance Animal, including an Emotional Support Animal. Examples of Assistance Animals’ work or tasks include 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, and the work or task the animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. A doctor’s letter does not turn a pet, or other animal, into a Service Animal.
B. All dogs and cats four (4) months of age or older, must have a current rabies vaccination and a County License. Pets are required to wear the license tag at all times per Montgomery County Code; Section 5-203(a)(9). Any other pets, service, or domesticated animals brought onto the USG campus must be licensed and inoculated in accordance with Montgomery County regulations, with the burden of proof on the owner.
C. It is unlawful for any owner or custodian to permit their animal, or an animal in their care, to create a public nuisance (Montgomery County Code; Article 3, Section 5).
D. Members of the USG community and visitors to the USG campus are generally permitted to bring their pets to public, outdoor areas of the USG campus.
- Pets are only permitted outdoors; they are prohibited in all USG buildings.
- All pets must be controlled by a leash, tether, or harness, not exceeding six feet in length.
- Pets may not be tethered to landscaping, furniture, or a structure, and may not be left unattended for any period of time.
- Unless otherwise permitted, pets are prohibited from any outdoor USG event.
- Owners must immediately clean up after their pets per the Animal Defecation (“pooper scooper”) Law (Montgomery County Animal Control Regulations; Article 3, Section 4).
- Owners must ensure their pet’s behavior does not cause harm to individuals or USG property (Montgomery County Animal Control Regulations; Article 3, Section 4).
- Owners are responsible for any damage or injury caused by their pets, as well as to appropriately care for their pets.
- USG is not liable for harm to pets while on the campus.
E. USG affords equal access and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to participate in any program, service, or opportunity provided on USG, and complies with applicable laws related to service animals (defined by ADA 28CFR36.104 as “any dog that is individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.”) USG students, employees, and USG academic partner staff and faculty who are bringing a service animal to campus on a daily or regular basis must notify the Center for Academic Success, Disability Services Office and the Public Safety Office.
Concerns about whether an animal is a pet or a service Animal should be referred to the Public Safety Office. Service Animals are permitted to accompany people with disabilities into all areas of campus where community members and visitors are allowed to enter. Exclusions of Service Animals are determined on an individualized basis when one or more of the following conditions exists:
- The Service Animal is disruptive and not effectively controlled.
- The Service animal is not housebroken.
- The presence of the Service Animal would fundamentally change the nature of the job, service, or activity.
- The Service Animal’s presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property and/or the health and safety of others (including inappropriate hygiene or cleanliness).
- The Service Animal may be endangered.
- The Service Animal’s presence may compromise the integrity of certain research.
USG is not responsible for the care or supervision of Service Animals. The owners/users are responsible for:
- Complying with the licensing requirements of Montgomery County, Maryland, as appropriate for the animal, with a copy of the license submitted to the Public Safety Office and to the Center for Academic Success, Disability Services Office (for students) and to USG Human Resources (for staff and employees).
- Following their veterinarian’s care recommendations and vaccinations for the animal, with a copy of the health record submitted to the Public Safety Office and to the Center for Academic Success, Disability Services Office (for students) and to USG Human Resources (for staff and employees).
- The cost of any property damage or cost of extra cleaning required due to the animal.
- The control and reasonable behavior of the Service Animal at all times.
- The Service Animal’s hygiene and personal cleanliness.
- The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of animal waste.
Service Animals “in-training” are permitted on USG in accordance with the above guidelines for Service Animals. Notification must be made to the Public Safety Office prior to bringing a service animal in-training to USG. A single prior notification is sufficient for the entire training period of that animal.
Service Animals or Certified/Registered Therapy Dogs brought onto campus for “academic/instructional purposes” are permitted on USG in accordance with the above guidelines for Service Animals. Notification must be made to the Public Safety Office prior to bringing a service animal or certified/registered therapy dogs onto USG for academic/instructional purposes. Prior notification must be made for each instance.
If students are allergic to Service Animals on campus, they are encouraged to contact the Center for Academic Success, Disability Support Services office to assist in resolving the issue. If faculty or staff are allergic to Service Animals on campus, they are encouraged to contact their supervisor and Human Resources will attempt to reasonably accommodate all parties.
In the event of a dispute about an accommodation related to a Service Animal or an animal restriction, students, faculty, and staff may seek resolution for their dispute with the Center for Academic Success, Disability Support Services office.
F. Members of the USG community and visitors to the campus must obtain prior permission from the USG administration to bring Domesticated Animals onto the USG campus and may be required to show proof of insurance covering any and all damages or injury the animal may cause while on USG.
- Domesticated Animals are only permitted outdoors; they are prohibited in all USG buildings.
- All Domesticated Animals must be penned, caged, or controlled by a leash, tether, or harness, not exceeding six feet in length.
- Domesticated Animals may not be tethered to landscaping, furniture, or a structure, and may not be left unattended for any period of time.
- Unless otherwise permitted, Domesticated Animals are prohibited from any outdoor USG event.
- Owners must immediately clean up after their Domesticated Animals per the Animal Defecation (“pooper scooper”) Law (Montgomery County Animal Control Regulations; Article 3, Section 4).
- Owners must ensure their Domesticated Animals’ behavior does not cause a nuisance or harm to individuals or USG property (Montgomery County Animal Control Regulations; Article 3, Section 4).
- Owners are responsible for any damage or injury caused by their Domesticated Animals, as well as to appropriately care for their Domesticated Animals.
- USG is not liable for harm to Domesticated Animals while on the campus.
G. Reports of an animal that poses a threat or is otherwise disruptive should be directed to the Montgomery County Police Animal Services Division 24-hour Emergency Line at 240-773-5900 and to USG Security at 301-738-6065.
H. Community members and guests are expected to take reasonable precautions when encountering wild animals and may not feed or otherwise disturb them. Community members and visitors to USG should immediately notify USG Security at 301-738-6065 of any wild animals on campus that they believe pose a threat.