Service Animal Policy

Gardner-Webb University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who require the assistance of service animals.

Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act 2010 defines a service animal as a dog trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. These tasks include but are not limited to: guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with hearing loss to intruders or sounds, aiding persons with mobility impairments, seizure disorders, or to retrieve dropped items.

Service Dogs in Training

A dog being trained to be a service dog has the same rights as a fully trained dog when accompanied by a trainer. They must follow all relevant provisions of this policy.

Responsibility of Persons with Service Dogs

  • Care and Supervision: The care and supervision of the dog is the sole responsibility of the individual who uses the dog’s service. The person must maintain control of the dog at all times. The person is also responsible for ensuring the clean up of all dog waste, and when appropriate, toilet the dog in areas designated by the University.
  • Vaccination: The dog must be immunized against diseases, according to North Carolina law. Dogs must have current vaccinations against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and must wear a rabies vaccination tag.
  • License tag: All service dogs will wear a license tag as required by local laws.
  • Leashing: The dog must be on a leash at all times except where the dog needs to perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of constraint or where the person is physically unable to maintain a dog on a leash due to a disability.
  • Disruptive Behavior: A dog may be removed if its behavior is so unruly or disruptive as to disrupt the educational environment. If such behavior persists, the owner may be prohibited from bringing the dog on campus until the owner takes significant and effective steps to correct the dog’s behavioral problems.
  • Damage: The owner of a service dog is financially responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by their dog.
  • Request for Policy Modification: A student requesting a modification to the above policies should meet with the Associate Dean of the Noel Center. All modifications are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Grievance Procedure

In the event of a grievance about a disability determination, appropriateness of an accommodation or service quality, the person should confer with the Associate Dean of the Noel Center for Disability Resources. If no agreement can be reached, the student may appeal the decision following the grievance procedure outlined in the Gardner-Webb University Catalog.

Requirements of Faculty, Staff, and Students

  • Allow a service dog to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus except where they are specifically prohibited.
  • Do not touch or pet a service dog unless invited to do so.
  • Do not feed a service dog.
  • Do not deliberately startle a service dog.
  • Do not separate or attempt to separate an owner from his or her service dog.
  • Do not inquire for details about a person’s disability. This is a private matter and the person may be uncomfortable discussing it.

Please contact the Noel Center for Disability Resources, ext. 4270, for more information on this policy.


Only two questions may be asked about service dogs:

  1. Does the person have a disability?
  2. Does the dog provide a necessary service?

It is a Class 3 misdemeanor under North Carolina law [N.C.G.S. 168-4.5]:

  • “to deprive a person with a disability or a person training a service animal of any rights granted the person” under the laws applicable to persons with disabilities, or “of any rights or privileges granted the general public with respect to being accompanied by animals”, or
  • “to charge any fee for the use of the service animal
  • It is also a Class 3 misdemeanor “to disguise an animal as a service animal or service animal in training.” [N.C.G.S. 168-4.5].” In other words, it is a crime under North Carolina law to obtain access for an animal under the false pretense that it is a service animal.