Student Handbook

3.01 Service and Assistant Animal Policy


Federal and state law protect the right to a service animal for qualified individuals with disabilities. The federal Fair Housing Act allows emotional support animals in student housing, with appropriate documentation, to afford a student with a documented disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing.


“Emotional support animal (ESA)” is a companion animal which provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of a disability, to an individual with a documented disability. ESA animals are typically dogs and cats, but may include other animals, and are allowed on college campuses in limited circumstances.

“Handler” is the individual with a disability using a service or emotional support animal on campus, a person responsible for handling the animal in order to assist the individual with the disability, or a person responsible for a pet on campus.

“Pets” are defined as any animal that does not qualify as a service animal or ESA.

“Qualified individual with a disability” is an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, who has a history or record of such an impairment, or who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

“Service animals” are defined as dogs or, on a limited, case-by-case basis, a miniature horse that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under this procedure.

The college requests that students and staff refrain from bringing unauthorized animals to campus property. Unauthorized pets or animals are not allowed in any campus building, nor are they allowed to be tied to any campus structure or confined on or in parked vehicles on campus property.

Service animals are permitted anywhere on campus at any time. Assistance animals will be more broadly defined. Assistance animals may provide physical, psychological or emotional support to individuals, but may not be considered Service Animals under the ADAAA. Under Colorado law, it is a crime to knowingly misrepresent an animal as a service animal. Misrepresenting an animal as a service animal can result in fines pursuant to Colorado statute and the individual may be referred for discipline under applicable policies and procedures (for students and employees), or removed from campus (for guests, visitors and other third parties).

All requests for assistance animals as an accommodation in campus housing facilities must be approved by your roommate, the NJC Guidance Coordinator, the Transition Specialist, and the Director of Residence Life. Assistance animals are permitted only in the handler’s assigned housing space except to the extent that the handler is taking the ESA out for natural relief. They are not permitted in dining facilities, the library, academic buildings, athletic buildings, classrooms, and other non-residential locales. A student may be able to have an assistance animal in a campus housing unity as a reasonable accommodation if:

  • The student has a documented disability; and
  • The animal is necessary to afford the student with the disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling; and
  • There is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides. 

Requests for assistance animals may be denied if the presence of the animal imposes an undue administrative burden, fundamentally alters NJC housing policies, or poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Other factors that are considered are:

  1. The size of the animal is too large for assigned housing space;
  2. The animals presence would force another individual from housing (i.e., serious allergies);
  3. The animals presence would violate other individuals rights to peace and quiet;
  4. The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;
  5. The animals vaccinations are not up to date;
  6. The animal has had past aggressive behavior and poses a direct threat to others;
  7. The animal causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond normal wear and tear.

Approved assistant animals must observe the following guidelines:

  1. Permitted in student’s assigned housing space only and must be crated or caged when unattended in the student’s room.
  2. Kept in an animal carrier or controlled by an appropriate harness or short leash when outside of the student’s room for natural relief or exercise.
  3. Not left unattended in the student’s room for an unreasonable amount of time, as appropriate for the animal.
  4. Not left in campus housing if the student is to be absent from College housing overnight or longer.  If the owner must be gone overnight, they must take the animal with them.
  5. Not cared for on campus by any individual other than the student approved for the emotional support animal.
  6. Appropriate care of the animal to ensure it is well cared for, regularly bathed, groomed, and treated for fleas, ticks, and other pests.
  7. Compliance with state and local requirements regarding rabies and any other vaccinations (the service animal or ESA must wear a valid vaccination tag at all times), as well as abide by city, county, and state ordinances (i.e. licensing, barking, vaccinations, leash control, etc.)

The handler will do prompt and thorough cleanup and disposal of waste in a closed container and appropriate trash bin.
The handler will be solely responsible for any damage caused by the animal, including damages for an injury such as a bite caused by an uncontrolled animal.

During emergency evacuations, NJC shall not be required to provide care or food for any animal. NJC will not be responsible for removing the animal during emergency evacuations for events such as fire alarms. Emergency personnel will determine whether or not to remove the animal during emergencies.

Removal of Assistance Animals

NJC may require an animal be removed from housing if:

  1. The animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or causes substantial property damage.
  2. The animal's presence results in a fundamental alteration of a college program;
  3. The owner does not comply with the responsibilities set forth in this policy;
  4. The animal creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the college community.

Noncompliance with this procedure will result in a report to the city animal control specialist for immediate removal of the animal and the student responsible for the animal on campus will be reported for judicial sanctions.

Removal of Service Animals

Service animals may be excluded from campus if:

  1. The animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it;
  2. The animal is not housebroken;
  3. The animal’s handler is mistreating or neglecting the animal; or
  4. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service dog that displays vicious or unsafe behavior towards others may be excluded.


In the event of a dispute about an accommodation relating to an ESA or validity of a service animal, a student may file a complaint in accordance with College procedures.  When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, the individual with the disability can meet with Accessibility Services to discuss options.


Pets are banned from living on the NJC campus.