American Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. According to the Department of Justice, a service animal is defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.” If the animals meet this definition, then they are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by the state of Qatar. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for oneself. For example, a guide dog is used by some individuals who are blind. The work or task must be directly related to the individual’s disability. A service animal is not a pet.
To determine if an animal is a service animal, the following questions must be answered:
- Is this animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has this animal been trained to perform?
These questions may not be asked if the need for the service animal is obvious (e.g., the dog is guiding an individual who is blind or is pulling a person’s wheelchair).
An individual who requires a service animal begins the process by contacting the Student Wellness & Counseling Center (SWCC) if a student or GU-Q Human Resources (HR) if a faculty/staff. The individual will be required to supply the SWCC or HR with supporting documentation from a health care provider.
SWCC does not provide letters for emotional support animals (ESA). We generally recommend that you inquire further with your primary care provider or a mental health professional outside of SWCC for this request. Licensed healthcare professionals may assess and provide ESA letters. These professionals include, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, counselors, physicians, and physician’s assistants. If you have an existing relationship with a medical or mental health professional, we always recommend discussing your interest in an ESA with them first.
The SWCC/HR will contact the Facilities Management regarding the accommodation and will work with the individual to find appropriate accommodations. The university will request the individual to submit Qatar required documentation (certifications by the service dog’s licensed veterinarian, current vaccination record, etc.) and sign the service animal agreement guidelines.