Service animals & assistance animals

Service Animals

Disability Services is available for questions or clarification regarding service animals. Disability Services does not issue an identification card for service animals.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Montana Human Rights Act, individuals with disabilities may be accompanied by their service animals on all University of Montana campuses.

What is a Service Animal?

A service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks that are related to the individual’s impairment. If the animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been certified or licensed as a service animal by a training program or by a state or local government.

Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. Although the law requires only a service animal in training be appropriately marked, Disability Services recommends that service animals wear a visible identification such as a cape, harness, backpack that identifies that the animal is a service animal.

Resources

Assistance and Therapy Animals

Individuals with disabilities may be allowed to have assistance or therapy animals within campus housing facilities. Assistance animals are identified under the Fair Housing Act and under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

What’s an Assistance Animal?

Assistance animals are essentially pets that are necessary for the participation in University housing programs by the person with a disability. Assistance animals in housing are the animals that provide emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.

What’s a Therapy Animal?

Therapy animals are animals owned by a therapist, who uses the animal as a component of therapy for a person with a disability.

Process

In partnership with the UM Housing, Disability Services serves as the campus authority for verification of disability for students or their family members who plan to bring an assistance or therapy animal to the University of Montana’s housing facilities.

Prior to moving into any university housing facility, students, who wish to have an assistance or therapy animal to the housing, must notify UM Housing and proceed the following steps:

  • Contact Disability Services at 406.243.2243 to make an intake appointment with a Disability Services coordinator.
  • Complete the appointment that will address the assistance animal verification process and to receive a verification form. 
  • Submit a verification form completed by your qualified professional that the assistance or therapy animal is necessary for housing. Disability Services will deny the request if there is a lack of evidence of the animal's necessity to the individual.

After Disability Services verifies

  • Schedule a follow-up meeting with UM Housing at 406.243.2611.
  • Complete the meeting with UM Housing that will address prior violations in university housing and roommate compatibility.
  • Provide UM Housing with the animal's vaccination records. 

Resources