Download the PDF of the Service and Assistance Animal Policy

Section I: Policy Statement

Johns Hopkins University welcomes the presence of service animals assisting people with disabilities in areas open to the public on its campuses. A service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.  On a limited case-by-case basis, a miniature horse that has been similarly trained may also qualify as a service animal. The work or task the service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Examples of tasks that a service animal may perform include, but are not limited to, guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, or assisting someone during a seizure.

In determining whether an animal qualifies as a service animal, University employees may only ask whether the animal is required due to a disability and what specific work or tasks the animal has been trained to perform. The University will not inquire about the nature or extent of the person’s disability or require documentation of the animal’s certification or training.

Animals that provide assistance or emotional support to a person with a disability but are not individually trained do not meet the definition of service animal. These animals may be considered for access to student housing or the workplace of a JHU employee as described below, but are generally not permitted in other areas of the University.

Section II: University Housing

Students should contact the Student Disability Services Coordinator for their school to make this request. The extent of the documentation required will depend on whether the animal is a service or other assistance animal, and whether the student has other disability-related housing accommodation requests. Students making this request must adhere to the policies and procedures established for animals in University housing.

Section III: Employees

JHU employees who require a service or assistance animal with them in the workplace should make this request via the reasonable accommodation request process. The JHU employee accommodation policy and procedures are available here. Requests to bring an animal into the workplace will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to, the nature of the employee’s position, the type of animal and the functions it performs, and the environment the employee works in.

Section IV: When a Service or Assistance Animal May Be Excluded

A service or assistance animal may be excluded from University premises if the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, if the animal is not housebroken, or if the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

In the event that the service or assistance animal is excluded, the person with a disability who uses the animal should be allowed to remain and may suggest alternative accommodations in lieu of the excluded animal.

Questions and Resources

Questions regarding service or assistance animals should be directed to Disability Services in the Office of Institutional Equity at (410) 516-8075.

See Also:

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, Service Animals, available at:

U.S. Department of Housing, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Service and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-Funded Programs, available at:

Job Accommodation Network, Service Animals in the Workplace, available at: