Handler Responsibilities

In this section, “animal” refers to a service animal or emotional support animal, as described in the Service Animal Policy and the Emotional Support Animal Policy.  The handler refers to the individual with a disability who is training or utilizing a service animal or emotional support animal as an accommodation in the residence halls at Cornell College.

Handlers are responsible for any damage caused by their animals and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. The care, supervision, and well-being of animals are the sole responsibility of their handlers at all times.

Handlers of animals on campus must:

  1. Take responsibility for meeting legal requirements regarding vaccinations and licensing.
  2. Ensure that animals are under control at all times. If an animal exhibits unacceptable behavior, the handler must take effective action to correct the situation.
  3. Handlers may maintain the animal in their assigned room, suite common area (if applicable) or in the hallways while entering or exiting the building and taking the most direct route from the handler’s room and outside. When the handler is not present the animal should be housed and secured in the handler’s room in an appropriately sized kennel or container.  If the handler will be off-campus overnight they may designate one person to attend to the animal’s needs during their absence. The name and contact information for this person should be sent to the Director of Residence Life in advance of the handler leaving campus. If the handler will be off-campus for 48 hours or more they will need to make arrangements for the animal to stay off-campus or the emergency contact will be called to retrieve the animal from campus until the handler is able to return.
  4. In order to help faculty prepare for any facility or curriculum accommodations, it is recommended that handlers inform faculty of their use of service animals prior to the beginning of any block in which they will be using a service animal in class. Faculty are strongly encouraged to work with the Coordinator for Academic Support and Advising regarding communications with student if there are any concerns.  Emotional support animals are not approved to attend class.
  5. Ensure that animals are provided with adequate care and treatment.
  6. Adhere to cleanup rules: Handlers must follow local clean up ordinances when their animals defecate. Waste should be disposed of in a sealed bag and placed in an outdoor trash receptacle. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animal or emotional support animal may not be required to pick up and dispose of feces but are responsible for finding someone to do so for them.
  7. Take responsibility for property damage: Costs associated with any damage to campus facilities or properties resulting from the animal’s behavior are the sole responsibility of their handlers. Damage that occurs in a residence hall will be resolved according to the Residence Life damage policy.
  8. Animals cannot be bathed in the residence hall nor can cages be cleaned in residence hall facilities.

Removal/Relocation of Service/Assistance Animals

Animals may be removed from any campus facility for the following reasons:

  1. Out-of-control Behavior: A handler may be directed to remove an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking excessively, running around, bringing attention to itself, jumping up on people, exhibiting aggressive behavior) if the handler is unable or unwilling to take effective action to control the animal. Repeated instances of such behavior may result in exclusion from College facilities until the handler can demonstrate that they can effectively control the animal.
  2. Not Housebroken: Animals must be housebroken. Handlers must also ensure that their animals are kept clean and well-groomed. Animals that are excessively unclean (e.g., repeated soiling of facilities, flea-infested, foul-smelling and/or shedding excessively) may be excluded from College facilities. Although animals will sometimes become ill unexpectedly, the College recommends that animals that are sick should not be brought into College facilities.

If a service animal is properly excluded from the premises, the handler will be offered the opportunity to participate in the service, program or activity without the service animal.

Conflicts between animals and others’ severe allergies, phobias, etc., will be addressed on a case-by-case basis (e.g., relocation to another College housing facility or an alternate office location).

Emergency Situations

In the event of an emergency, college officials and emergency responders will prioritize the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and guests to campus.  Officials and responders are not responsible for removing animals during an emergency, and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the animal.  

Confidentiality and Authority

Information regarding disability is considered highly confidential, is maintained in separate, secure files with limited access, and is only shared on a need-to-know basis. Authorizations for animals used for disability-related accommodations are made based on medical and/or mental health documentation and the situation at hand, and are not subject to challenge by someone other than the person utilizing the service or assistance animal.

Policy Revisions and Review

This policy is subject to revision and will be reviewed on an annual basis.


City of Mount Vernon Dog Licensing Form

Service Dog Registration for Campus (for dogs not living on campus but simply visiting inside classroom buildings or Commons, the non-public space). Turn in to Academic Support and Advising office when completed via email, fax or in person.