Service and Support Animal Guidelines
Statement of Policy
The Harrison Memorial Library has a legal obligation to the public to ensure that library facilities are available without discrimination to all who choose to use it and to ensure that the library environment is a safe one. This policy seeks to define the library’s policy on the presence of animals at the library and the rights and responsibilities of both the library and its patrons with regard to the presence of animals at the library.
In accordance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are welcomed and permitted in the Harrison Memorial Main Library and Park Branch Library facilities. Only animals that serve as a service animal, as defined below, or animals that are participating in a library event, are allowed in the library.
Service Animal: Per the ADA 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 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.” In regards to miniature horses, they generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds. Per the ADA, size and weight can be factors in determining if the Library is able to accommodate this type of service animal.
Support Animal: Sometimes referred to as an assistance animal, comfort animal, therapy animal or companion animal, a support animal is an animal that provides emotional or other support/assistance that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Unlike a Service Animal, a Support Animal does not necessarily assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living, nor does it accompany a person with a disability at all times.
In order to help maintain a pleasant, productive, and safe environment for all Library users and staff, the following behavioral guidelines for service animals are to be observed:
- Service animals must be in physical proximity with their handler and under handler control at all times.
- Service animals may not be left unattended by their handler at any time.
- Service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times unless the use of a leash or harness interferes with the animal’s effective performance of its designated task(s). If the animal cannot be leashed or harnessed, it must be under the handler’s control via voice, signals, or other effective means at all times.
- Service animals must not display disruptive behavior such as barking and growling and must conform to the Library’s Rules of Conduct.
- Service animals must be housebroken and their handler is responsible for any upkeep or clean-up of the animal.
If a service animal’s behaviors or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to the health or safety of others, or do not conform to these guidelines, it may not remain in a Library facility. In accordance with ADA guidelines, non-compliance of guidelines can be grounds for a request to remove a service animal from a Library facility. If the service animal is excluded from a Library facility, the individual with the disability is welcomed to stay and be reasonably accommodated by Library staff.
California does not have a law or program by which an animal certified to be a service animal nor does it require the animal to wear any identifying tag or garment that identifies the animal as a service animal. Although some service animals wear identifying harnesses or special collars, there is no requirement that service animals be so identified.
Library staff is permitted to ask two questions of a patron with an animal to determine if the animal has been trained to provide a specific service to a person with a disability:
- Is the animal a service animal?
- Has the animal been trained to perform a health related or supportive task?
Fraudulently misrepresenting guide, signal or service dogs is a misdemeanor. Any person who knowingly and fraudulently represents himself or herself, through verbal or written notice, to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed/qualified/identified as a guide, signal, or service dog shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 6 months, by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both fine and imprisonment. (California Code, Penal Code – PEN § 365.7)
(Adopted by the Harrison Memorial Library Board of Trustees September 2018.)