Service and Assistance Animals


Seattle Pacific University has a general “no pets” policy in all of its buildings, including University Housing. However, Service Animals are allowed to accompany their handlers on campus and in their residence. Assistance Animals (or Emotional Support Animals) may be requested as an accommodation in housing through Disability Support Services for students.


  • Service animal: Any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Service animals are usually dogs.
  • Partner: A person with a service or assistance animal. 
  • Team: A person with a disability and his or her service animal. The two work as a cohesive team in accomplishing the tasks of everyday living.

Service Animal Policy

SPU's Service Animals Policy will address the use of service animals for students with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A service animal that has been trained to perform an active task that mitigates or partially mitigates the impact of the handler’s disability is protected by the ADA.  If a Service Animal’s role is not apparent by observation, you may be asked “Is that a service animal for a disability?” and “What service/tasks does it perform for you?” The service animal is an access need not something you need to request as an accommodation; therefore, you will not have to submit documentation of a disability for it to be used on campus, only if you are requesting additional accommodations.

All SPU students and employees are encouraged to be familiar with this policy, regardless of whether they use a Service Animal, so that they can be aware of the rights and needs of others and understand the appropriate type of conduct towards Service Animals on campus.

Emergency situations

In the event of an emergency, emergency responders (e.g., security officers) should be trained to recognize service animals and be aware that the animal may be trying to communicate the need for help. The emergency responder should be aware that the animal is trying to be protective. The emergency responder should make every reasonable effort to keep the animal with its partner. However, the responder's first effort should be toward the partner; this may necessitate leaving an animal behind in certain emergency evacuation situations.

Assistance Animal Policy

Under the Fair Housing Act, Assistance Animals also include animals other than dogs, that provide provide passive support that alleviates or at least partially mitigates the impact of a person’s disability allowing them to benefit from SPU's programs and services.  Animals providing these passive services are generally referred to as Assistance Animals or Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).  Assistance (or ESA) Animals can be requested of and approved by Disability Support Services for Housing assignments.

Please see SPU's Assistance Animal Policy for more information. If you would like to discuss this option as an accommodation, please call 206.281.2272 or email to set up an appointment.  

Conflicting disabilities or health issues

It is common for persons to have an allergic reaction to animals. Persons making an asthmatic/allergy/medical complaint should be directed to file a complaint with DSS. The person making the complaint should show medical documentation to support the complaint. Actions should be taken to consider the needs of both persons and to resolve the problem as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.


The guidelines herein also apply to students with animals who reside in on-campus housing. If there is an allergy/animal conflict within the housing unit that cannot be resolved agreeably, the Fair Housing Act (1988), which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of a disability, must be considered.

First-person rights: If the first person allowed in the housing unit uses a service animal and another person comes along with serious allergies, the first person should not be moved to accommodate the second person.

Questions welcome here!

Stop by Lower Moyer to learn more, or call us at 206-281-2475 to schedule an appointment.