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Policy GCF - Animals on School Premises

Policy GCF-Animals on School Premises (PDF)

Issue Date: March 16, 2016

Updated: April 17, 2024

Animals Permitted Only Pursuant to this Policy

Privately owned animals are only permitted on school premises with written consent from the principal or superintendent or designee except as specified by this policy.


The following definitions apply in this policy:

  1. “Service animal” is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The work or tasks performed by the service animal must be directly related to the person’s disability and do not include providing emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship. 28 CFR § 35.104
  2. “Disability” is defined or determined according to the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”), together with implementing regulations.
  3. “Direct threat” is a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services. 28 CFR § 35.104
  4. “Emotional support animal” is a domesticated animal other than a non-human primate that is individually necessary for the emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship of an individual with a disability.  The tasks performed by the animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.

General Standards Regarding Animals Serving Individuals With Disabilities

The District is committed to providing equal access for individuals with disabilities to its programs, services, and activities, including access for service animals assisting those individuals, as required by applicable laws and regulations.  While the District may establish safety requirements as needed for safe operation of its services, programs, or activities, it recognizes that such requirements must be based on actual risks and may not be based on speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about people with disabilities.

Service Animals

The use of service animals by individuals with disabilities shall be allowed on all portions of school premises where the individual would be permitted as a member of the public, an employee, or student, as applicable, subject to the following:

  1. The individual may be required to remove the animal from the premises if:
    1. The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; or
    2. The animal is not properly housebroken.
  2. The school is not responsible for the care or supervision of the animal.
  3. The animal must be under the handler’s control.  This means a harness, leash, tether, voice control, signals, or other effective means of control.
  4. Except in circumstances where the animal’s training and function is immediately apparent, the school may ask (1) if the animal is required because of a disability and (2) what work or task the animal is trained to perform.  The school may not ask about the nature or extent of the individual’s disability and may not require documentation establishing that the animal is trained as a service animal.
  5. The school shall not impose any fee or charge regarding service animals’ presence on school premises; however, in instances where individuals may be charged for damage to school property, charges may be made for damage to school property caused by service animals.

28 CFR § 35.136

Utah Code § 26B-6-803(3) (2023)

Service Animals In Training

An individual who does not have a disability may be accompanied by a dog in training to become a service animal or to become a police service canine, subject to the requirements and standards relating to service animals outlined above.

Utah Code § 62A-5b-104(2) (2012)

Utah Code § 26B-6-803(2) (2023)

An individual accompanied by a dog in training is liable for any loss or damage the dog causes to the school premises.

Utah Code § 26B-6-803(3) (2023)

Miniature Horses

The District shall make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a miniature horse by an individual with a disability if the horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the individual with the disability, subject to the requirements and standards relating to service animals outlined above.  In determining whether the District’s policies, practices, or procedures can be reasonably modified to permit this use, the school shall consider:

1.         The type, size, and weight of the miniature horse and whether the school can accommodate these features;

2.         Whether the handler has sufficient control of the horse;

3.         Whether the horse is housebroken; and

4.         Whether the horse’s presence in the school compromises legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe school operation.

28 CFR § 35.136(i)

Emotional Support Animals

The use of an emotional support animal (or “comfort animal”) is considered a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or Section 504.  Such a request must be supported by recent, reliable, objective medical documentation.  In addition, documentation may be required to address legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of the school’s programs, services, or activities.  Only domesticated animals will be considered as emotional support animals.  The use of emotional support animals on school premises is also subject to the requirements and standards relating to service animals outlined above except for the limitation on inquiries.

Evaluation Prior to Denial

To the extent possible, before denying access to an animal asserted to be a service animal, service animal in training, covered miniature horse, or emotional support animal, District staff shall consult with the District Risk Coordinator and the Risk Coordinator shall consult with State Risk Management and as needed with District legal counsel.  If consultation is not possible, District staff shall make the access determination based on this policy and shall thereafter consult.

Questions about the application of this policy to specific circumstances or requests requiring special consideration should be directed to the District Risk Coordinator, District personnel responsible for compliance with law relating to individuals with disabilities, and as needed to District legal counsel.