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Service Animals at Duke University & Duke Health System

Service Animals

Duke is committed to providing an open and accessible environment to all members of the Duke community. This includes welcoming service animals that are assisting disabled individuals in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable state and federal law.

A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that has been trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The work or task(s) must be directly related to the person’s disability. An individual being assisted by a service animal is that animal’s handler.

  • NOTE:  Assistance animals (sometimes called “emotional support animals”) are not service animals, and are usually restricted to student housing areas after approval. See the Housing, Dining, and Residence Life Assistance Animal Requirements for details on the process for gaining approval for an assistance animal.

Service animals must be under the handler’s control at all times.  Service animals are subject to state and local licensing, registration, and vaccination requirements. The animal’s handler is responsible for complying with any current Durham and North Carolina requirements.

Individuals with service animals may voluntarily register with the Disability Management System. This is encouraged for safety reasons related to, for example, emergency evacuations.

In certain circumstances, service animals may be excluded from Duke facilities.

-          If admitting service animals would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program, service animals may be prohibited from the area reserved for that service or program.

-          If a service animal behaves in a way that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, if it has a history of such behavior, if it is not housebroken, or if it is not under the control of the handler, that service animal may be excluded from a Duke facility.


Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section. 06/08/2016.

Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section. 06/08/2016.

For more information, please contact Leigh Fickling at