5,470: Animals on University Property

Revised: May 2018

Animals are not allowed in university buildings except as specified under this policy and UAM 6,512, Policy on the Use of Animals in Teaching, Research, Extension, and Testing.


Non-service Animal: Any animal that does not meet the ADA definition of a service animal or the Nevada Revised Statutes definition of a service animal in training.

Service Animal: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog or miniature horse "individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items" (28 CFR Ch. 1 § 36.104). If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program.

Emotional Support Animal: An emotional support animal is an animal that is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to enjoy a dwelling unit. An emotional support animal does not meet the definition of a service animal under the ADA. An emotional support animal is permitted only in dwelling units and only after approval by the Disability Resource Center.

Partner/Handler: A person with a service animal. A person with a disability is called a partner; a person without a disability is called a handler.

Service Animal in Training: A dog or miniature horse undergoing training to become a service animal. A trainee will be housebroken and fully socialized. To be fully socialized means the animal will not, except under rare occasions, bark, yip, growl or make disruptive noises; will have a good temperament and disposition; will not be aggressive. A trainee will be under control of the handler. If the trainee begins to show improper behavior, the handler will act immediately to correct the animal or will remove the animal from the premises.

Questions about Terminology

Supervisors or instructors who have questions about a service animal may not require employees or students to produce evidence of their disability or the service animal's training or provide a demonstration of the animal's service. If there is a question about whether an animal is a service animal, contact the Disability Resource Center.


The ADA and the University of Nevada, Reno policy allow service animals accompanying persons with disabilities and service animals in training accompanied by a handler to be on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. A service animal must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability everywhere on campus, and a service animal in training must be allowed to accompany the handler everywhere on campus. Exceptions may apply for research labs and machine shops.

Non-service animals on the university campus must be under the control of the owner or accompanying person at all times. Dogs must be on a leash. Non-service animals are not allowed in university buildings except under UAM 6,512. Non-service animals may be banned from outdoor public events on university property.

Washoe County Code 55.1, NRS 426.790, and all other county and state statutes apply. 

Outdoor Public Events Including Commencement

The University reserves the right to prohibit non-service animals from outdoor public events.

Animals are prohibited from all University Events and Major Events, as those terms are defined in section 5,302, scheduled to have 1000 or more attendees, with the exception of service animals and others whose presence has been formally approved, for example 4-H animals at a formal Cooperative Extension event. Such events include but are not limited to commencement, athletic events, and major political events. The physical boundaries for such University Events and Major Events will be determined by University Police Services and posted as per Washoe County Code 55.1.

Indoor Areas Off Limits to Service Animals and Service Animals in Training

Research Laboratories: The natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the outcome of the research. At the same time, the chemicals and/or organisms used in the research may be harmful to animals.

Areas Where There is a Danger to the Service Animal or Service Animal in Training: Any room, including a classroom, where there are sharp metal cuttings or other sharp objects on the floor or protruding from a surface; where there is hot material on the floor; where there is a high level of dust; or where there is moving machinery is off-limits to service animals or service animals in training (e.g., mechanical rooms, custodial closets, wood shops, metal/machine shops).

Deans/Vice Presidents may make exceptions on a case by case basis. This decision shall be made based on the nature of research or machinery and the best interest of the animal.

Requirements of Service Animals, Service Animals in Training, and Their Partners/Handlers

1. The university asks that the partner/handler and service animal or service animal in training meet with the Disability Resource Center by appointment prior to the first day of class. Bring vaccination records and animal to the appointment.

2. Licensing and Vaccination: The animal must be licensed and immunized in accordance with the laws, regulations, and ordinances of the City of Reno, Washoe County, and the State of Nevada. All dogs over the age of four months must obtain a license from the City of Reno. (775) 858-1616.

3. Health: The animal must be in good health. Service animals and service animals in training that are ill should not be taken into public areas. A partner/handler with an ill animal may be asked to leave university facilities.

4. Leash: The animal must be on a leash or otherwise under the control of the partner/handler at all times.

5. Under Control of the Partner/Handler: The partner/handler must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of its partner/handler.

6. Cleanup: The partner/handler must clean up after the animal defecates. The feces must be wrapped in a plastic bag and put in a waste receptacle. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own service animal shall not be required to pick up and dispose of feces. However, the individual is required to notify the Disability Resource Center so that other accommodations can be made.

When a Service Animal Can Be Asked to Leave

Disruption: The partner/handler of an animal that is unruly or disruptive (e.g., barking, running around, bringing attention to itself) may be asked to remove the animal from university facilities. For instance, an instructor may ask that a disruptive animal be removed from the classroom for the remainder of that class period. In such circumstances the university employee who requested that the animal be removed should notify the Disability Resource Center. The Disability Resource Center will review the incident and determine whether the animal may return and whether mitigating action may be necessary. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the partner/handler may be told not to bring the animal into any university facility until the partner/handler takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. Mitigation can include muzzling a barking animal or refresher training for both the animal and the partner/handler.

Cleanliness: Partners/handlers with animals that are unclean, noisome and or bedraggled may be asked to leave university facilities. An animal that becomes wet from walking in the rain or mud or from being splashed on by a passing automobile, but is otherwise clean, should be considered a clean animal. Animals that shed in the spring sometimes look bedraggled. If the animal in question usually is well groomed, consider the animal tidy even though its spring coat is uneven and messy appearing or it has become wet from weather or weather-related incidents.


Any partner/handler dissatisfied with a decision made concerning a service animal or service animal in training should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX and follow the University of Nevada, Reno ADA Accommodation Appeal Procedure.

Fraudulent Misrepresentation

The Nevada Revised Statutes 426.805 states as follows:

  1. "It is unlawful for a person to fraudulently misrepresent an animal as a service animal or service animal in training.
  2. A person convicted of fraudulently misrepresenting an animal as a service animal or service animal in training is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500."

Requirements of Faculty, Staff, and Students Regarding Service Animals and Service Animals in Training

1. Allow a service animal to accompany the partner at all times and everywhere on campus except where service animals are prohibited.

2. Allow a service animal in training to accompany the handler at all times and everywhere on campus except where service animals in training are prohibited.

3. Do not pet a service animal or service animal in training; petting a service animal or service animal in training when the animal is working distracts the animal from the task at hand.

4. Do not feed a service animal or service animal in training.

5. Do not deliberately startle a service animal or service animal in training.

6. Do not separate or attempt to separate a partner from his or her service animal or service animal in training.