Service or Assistance Animals

Service or Assistance Animals

Service and Emotional Support Animals

Xavier University of Louisiana strives to create supportive and comfortable living communities inclusive of the needs of all students.  Xavier University of Louisiana complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which all prohibit discrimination based on disability and impose various obligations upon the University to accommodate the use of service animals and Emotional Support animals that are approved as an accommodation for students with disabilities.

However, service animals and Emotional Support Animals, or ESA, are not the same and are not interchangeable. They perform different functions.


A service animal is a dog or miniature horse as identified by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that is trained to do a task(s) or service(s) directly related to the handlers’ disability. Service animals have received specialized training to perform work or tasks for their handler. Service Animals are allowed in all areas that are open to the general public. This includes the library, general offices, financial aid, registrar, public dining halls and general public events, etc.

If you are interested in bringing a service animal to live or be present on campus with you, please review the  Xavier University of Louisiana ODS Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy for Students.

We strongly encourage all students with a service animal that will be accompanying them on campus to register with ODS (Registration). By registering with ODS, students will have the ability, through ODS services, to inform faculty in advance that they will have a Service Animal in the class, lab, etc. Additionally, in order to support our students with service animals on the campus, ODS has developed a voluntary service animal registration process Service/Emotional Support Animal Registration Form.

Once a student registers with ODS, the ODS staff will work with the student to obtain a Xavier University ID badge for their service animal. This will be at no cost to the student. The service animal ID badge will include a picture of the service animal, the handler’s name, the animal’s name and indicates this is an ODS approved service animal. If you are planning to live in a Xavier University residential facility and bring a service animal with you, please follow the steps outlined for On-Campus Housing Accommodations.

Important Information Regarding:


Some of the handler's responsibilities while the service animal is on campus include the following:

  • Maintain control of your service animal. The animal should be under leash, harness, hand and/or voice command at all times.
  • The handler is responsible for the behavior of the service animal. Uncontrolled barking, jumping, sniffing, growling and whining, not related to the service the animal is providing, are some examples of unacceptable behavior.
  • The handler is responsible for cleaning up after the animal and must carry equipment to clean up the animal’s feces whenever the animal is on campus.
  • The handler must ensure the service animal does not infringe upon aisles or passageways for fire egress. In a lab environment, additional measures might be needed to ensure the safety of the animal.
  • The handler must ensure all legal requirements have been met for an animal in public places (vaccinations, licensure, ID tags, etc.) mandated by State and/or local ordinances in order for the animal to be on campus.
  • The handler must accompany the service animal at all times.
  • Identification – while it is not required, it is recommended that a service animal wear recognizable identification. This will alert others that the animal is working and not a pet.

A faculty or a staff member may not inquire about the nature or extent of your disability, but may ask the following questions when it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal:

  1. Is the dog/horse required because of a disability? and;
  2. What work or tasks has the dog/horse been trained to perform related to your disability?


An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support, comfort or companionship for a person with a disability to mitigate the impacts of the disability. Emotional support animals are not required to have formal training. ESAs are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore are only permitted in certain areas. ESAs are covered under the Fair Housing Act and may be a reasonable accommodation in the residential environment if deemed necessary in order for the student to have equal access to the residential environment.

A student who has been approved for an ESA in the University Residential Hall must adhere to guidelines for maintaining their animal in the residential environment. This includes but is not limited to:

  • The animal must be healthy and up to date on any parish or state required vaccinations. This includes having completed its first full set of vaccinations.
  • The animal cannot pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
  • The animal must be housebroken.
  • The animal must effectively be under the handlers control at all times.

If you are interested in bringing a service or an assistance animal to live on campus with you please see the ODS, ODS Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy for Students.

In order to have an assistance animal or service animal living in the residence halls, you must complete the Housing Documentation Request Form.