Service and Support Animals

Service Animals

Service animals may be used by individuals with disabilities in order to participate in or gain access to programs, benefits, or services at the University.

What is a Service Animal?

Service animals are specifically defined as a dog or a miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Service animals can be trained to perform a variety of different tasks or work to assist an individual with a disability (e.g., assisting with balance, providing navigation, detecting fluctuations in blood sugar, etc.). A service animal does not need to have any specific identification, such as a vest or collar. Moreover, there are no restrictions on the breed of dog or miniature horse that can qualify as a service animal.

Access Granted to Service Animals

Under the ADA, an individual who is accompanied by a service animal may not be excluded from an area where the public is generally allowed to go. While in these areas, the individual is solely responsible for taking care of the animal, including toileting, and must maintain control of the animal at all times. The animal should be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times, unless such a device would impact the animal’s ability to perform their task or work. In this case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice command.

Grounds to Exclude a Service Animal

While an individual may not be excluded from a space because they are accompanied by a service animal, there are some exceptions when an individual may be asked to remove the animal:

  • If the animal is out of control and the individual does not take immediate steps to control it.
  • If the animal is not housebroken.
  • If the presence of the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. This assessment cannot be based on stereotypes or assumptions about the breed of the animal or individual, but must be based on observable facts and circumstances. For example, an animal that presents with Rabies symptoms or displays aggressive behavior may be excluded as a direct threat to health or safety.

It is important to note that fear of dogs or allergies are NOT enough to exclude a service animal from a facility. If there are concerns about fear or allergies, departments should try to accommodate both parties as much as possible, with the understanding that the animal should not be removed unless one of the other exceptions applies.

If the disability is not apparent or is it is not obvious what task or work the animal performs, then facility staff may ask two questions to determine whether the animal is a service animal:

  1. Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

If the individual answers “no” to the first question or provides an answer that indicates that the animal does not perform a specific task or work in response to the second question, then the individual may be asked to return without the animal. If the individual answers “yes” to the first question and describes a specific task or work (that goes beyond providing support, comfort, distraction, etc.) which the animal is trained to perform, then the individual and animal should be granted access.

Staff may not ask to see special identification or documentation, that the animal demonstrate the task or work, or about the individual’s disability or require medical documentation.

Review the Residential Life Assistance or Service Animals Policy for complete details on the approval process and procedures to enable students with a disability to reasonably introduce their assistance or service animal into the housing community.

Support Animals

Service animals are distinct from support animals (also known as “comfort animals” or “emotional support animals”). Support animals can be any type of animal, such as a dog, cat, or rabbit. Support animals may be requested as an accommodation in housing units (e.g., residence halls) where the individual is a resident; however, public spaces such as dining halls, classrooms, museums, athletic facilities, etc., may ask that support animal not be brought into the facility.

For questions about requesting a support animal within University housing facilities, please see the Residential Life Assistance or Service Animals Policy or contact the Department of Residential Life to obtain information on the review and approval processes that must be completed prior to bringing emotional support animals into any University Housing facility.

For more information on service animals or support animals, please contact the Office of Disability Services or the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX.

Support Animal Funding  

The family of Wayde Sims has created the Wayde Forever 44 Fund to help LSU students with the fees and costs associated with their Emotional Support Dogs (ESD). Owning an Emotional Support Dog can be difficult and expensive. Funds are now available to assist LSU students living on campus with an Emotional Support Dog. 

Funds can be used for:

  • Adoption Fees to Secure an ESD
  • Annual Exams and Vaccinations
  • Boarding for Travel
  • ESD Medical Emergency
  • Food and Supplies
  • Monthly Preventative Care
  • Training and Behavioral Assistance

For questions about requesting a support animal within University housing facilities, please see Assistance with Service Animals or contact the Department of Residential Life to obtain information on the review and approval processes that must be completed prior to bringing emotional support animals into any University Housing facility.

Frequently Asked Questions

There's not a singular service or training required of service animals.  People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program. However, the animal must be able to perform the task necessary to serve the individual and also remain under control of the owner. 

Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals: On-campus residents must first register with ODS and be approved for an ESA before the animal lives on-campus. Once the student has received approval from ODS, the student must then submit Residential Life’s packet for service and support animals. 

Guide Dog Etiquette


Guide dogs are the guiding eyes for people who are blind or visually impaired, and they are specially bred and trained for this most important job. There are several guidelines people must follow when in the presence of a guide dog to allow for the safety of the dog and its handler. Disregarding these guidelines can distract the dog, which can create a dangerous situation for the dog and its handler. 

  • Do not pet, talk to, feed or otherwise distract the dog while he is wearing his harness without the handler’s permission. Do allow the dog to concentrate and perform for the safety of his or her handler.
  • Some handlers allow petting, but always ask the handler first. Do not pat the Guide Dog on the head. Stroke the dog on the shoulder area but only with it's handler's approval. 
  • Do not give the Guide Dog commands. Allow his or her handler to do so. 
  • Speak to the person, not the Guide Dog.
  • Do not try to take control in situations unfamiliar to the dog or handler. Assist the handler upon his or her request. Do not grab the harness or leash from the handler, you could confuse or disorient the team. If the handler looks like he or she needs help, offer your assistance and take your cue from their response.
  • Do not walk on the dog's left side as he may become distracted or confused. Walk on the handler's right side but several paces behind him or her. 
  • Do not attempt to grab or steer the handler while the dog is guiding him or her Ask if the handler needs your assistance and, if so, offer your left arm. 
  • Do not give the Guide Dog treats or table scraps without the handler’s permission. Respect the handler's need to give the dog a balanced diet and to maintain its good habits. 
  • Allow the Guide Dog to rest undisturbed, a Guide Dog in harness is “on duty” even when sitting or lying down. 
  • Give the Guide Dog respect as a working dog; do not treat him or her as a pet.