Service Animals in Laboratories
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety has developed this guidance to ensure the safety of faculty, staff, students, and services dogs in teaching and research laboratories.
Click here for a PDF copy of Needs Assessment for Service Dog in Teaching or Research Laboratory.
This guidance applies to University staff or students with conditions or disabilities (permanent or temporary) that need a service dog.
This guidance is to be used in conjunction with Indiana University policy for Animals in Buildings (FIN-INS-11) and with guidance provided by the IU ADA program.
Authority and Responsibility
- Disability Services Office for each Respective Campus at Indiana University
Disability Services Office for each Respective Campus at Indiana University shall be responsible for:
- Assisting students requesting the need of a service dog in a laboratory; and
- Preparing a needs assessment to be submitted to IUEHS for input.
- University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS)
- Providing recommendations for animal and personnel safety;
- Department/Faculty/Supervisor/Instructors shall be responsible for:
Ensuring the dog handler is following the requirements of the Needs Assessment and IUEHS recommendations;
Monitoring the environment and responding to any disruptions by discussing the situation with the owner; and
Contacting the Disability Services Office for the respective campus to report animal behavior problems.
- Service Dog Owner shall be responsible for:
Registering for services through the Disability Services Office for the respective campus;
Meeting with the department or instructors prior to the beginning of the semester to discuss accommodations;
Ensuring that the dog has received the proper training;
Following the guidelines and requirements provided in the Needs Assessment evaluation by IUEHS;
Providing any necessary personal protective equipment for the dog; and
Ensuring the dog is well-behaved and does not cause a disruption, distraction, or injury to others in the area.
Service Dog is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability and includes dogs trained to take a specific action, such as dogs trained to alert for low blood sugar in diabetics, those that detect the onset of seizures, and even those that alert the time for medication in depressed individuals.
Dogs used for emotional support, therapy, comfort, companions, and dogs-in-training are not considered qualified service dogs.
Service dogs do not have to be professionally trained and can be trained by the user.
Service dogs do not have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service dogs.
Procedures for Departments, Faculty, Supervisors, and Instructors
This program applies only to services dogs. Miniature horses or other types of service animals are not allowed in university laboratories.
Service dogs will not be allowed into the laboratory without the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Service dogs can only be excluded from the laboratory if:
- If the dog is out of control and the handler doesn’t take effective action to control it; or
If the dog is not housebroken.
Employers have a right to request the needs assessment provided by the Disability Services Office of the respective campus.
Faculty and Staff are not allowed to request any medical documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability.
Owners are responsible for cleanup and disposal of urine and feces.
Please refer to Indiana University policy for Animals in Buildings (FIN-INS-11).
Laboratories Utilizing Biological Materials
A needs assessment must be completed for the assessment of service dogs in laboratories utilizing risk group 1 biological materials.
Service dogs are generally not permitted in laboratories utilizing risk group 2 or higher biological materials. Personnel may request a risk assessment to accompany their Needs Assessment for a possible exception.
Laboratories Utilizing Radioactive Materials
Service dogs are not permitted in laboratories in which radioactive materials are used.
Administrative Hazard Controls
- Alternatives to positioning the service dog in the lab next to the individual must be discussed with the handler first. This would include:
- Placing the dog behind a removable gate or in a pen in an adjacent room or area away from hazards.
- If a location next to the person is required, consider a location at the end of the bench or in a corner away from other students, personnel, and activities.
Procedures for Service Dog Owners
Students, faculty or staff that require the use of a service dog in a laboratory are required to contact the Disability Services Office for the respective campus http://ada.iu.edu/~ada/students/index.shtml to document the need and recommendations.
- Procedural Steps for Dog Owners
- Contact the Disability Services Office for the respective campus using the following link http://ada.iu.edu/~ada/students/index.shtml;
- The respective Disability Services Office for that campus will conduct a needs assessment.
- General Requirements
- Please refer to Indiana University policy for Animals in Buildings (FIN-INS-11).
- Dog beds or fabric pads are not appropriate for use in the lab.
- Service dogs must wear appropriate personal protective equipment to be permitted into the laboratory.
Behavior Expectations of Service Dogs
- If the service dog is present in lab, the dog must be trained to “stay” and “leave it” (or equivalent behavior).
- The dog must not vocalize, bark, or growl inappropriately.
- If the dog is trained to alert by vocalizing, the instructor or staff must be aware of the circumstances under which the dog would vocalize. Disruptive, extended vocalizing or barking will not be permitted, unless in proper context.
- The dog must not behave aggressively towards other people – snapping, snarling, growling, charging, swiping, etc.
- The dog must not jump up on other people.
- The people in the laboratory will be informed that the dog is a service dog and always working.
- Interaction with the dog is by permission of the owner and only permitted outside of the laboratory.
- If the service dog displays any of these behaviors, the dog will not be permitted in the laboratory until documented and demonstrated re-training has occurred.
Personal Protective Equipment for Service Dogs
Service dogs entering laboratories must be protected to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, broken glass or other hazards that might be present in the laboratory environment.
This PPE shall be worn by the dog and purchased by the owner and include the following:
- Disposable or reusable boots to cover the feet such as commercially available products (Pawz Rubber Dog Boots)
- Disposable lab coats such as Maytex lab coat.
- Disposable plastic-backed absorbent lab paper or pet pads for the dog to lie on during lab to protect them from whatever might be on the floor.
If appropriate PPE is not brought to the lab, then the service dog will not be permitted into the laboratory.
Indiana University Animals in Buildings Policy (FIN-INS-11)
Glossary and appendices
- Needs Assessment
- Needs Assessment for Service Dog in Teaching or Research Laboratoryenvironmental-health/laboratory-safety/Needs-Assessment.pdf
Revised: May 22, 2018