CU Boulder recognizes that individuals with certain types of disabilities may require animal assistance while on campus. There are two categories of animals that may be allowed on campus to provide assistance to individuals with disabilities: service animals and assistance animals.

Service Animals

A service animal refers to 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. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the person's disability. Subject to some limitations, service animals may accompany students or the general public throughout campus. Employees who have a need for service animals as a workplace accommodation must contact ADA Compliance at to go through the accommodation process. If an employee makes a request to utilize a service animal to the employee’s supervisor, the supervisor should refer the employee to ADA Compliance, while also contacting the ADA Compliance unit directly to communicate the request.

When it is not obvious that a dog is a service animal, it is recommended that students make an appointment with Disability Services to assist in easing a service animal’s transition to campus. Employees should contact the ADA Coordinator to go through the accommodation process. 

When it is not obvious a dog is a service animal, the following inquiries are permitted: 

  1. Is the dog required because of a disability?
  2.  What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Service Animals in Training: Colorado law allows dogs on campus who are being trained specifically as service animals for individuals with disabilities. 

Assistance Animals

An assistance animal provides emotional or other support that minimizes one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. This group includes therapy animals, emotional support, or comfort animals. Unlike service animals, assistance animals are not required to be trained to perform work or tasks, and they include species other than dogs and miniature horses.

Assistance animals are generally not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in any academic or public areas of campus. An assistance animal may be allowed in an academic or public area of campus if it is approved as a reasonable accommodation by the ADA unit for an employee. In addition, and in accordance with the Fair Housing Act, students with disabilities may be allowed to have an assistance animal within campus housing facilities with prior approval.

For more information on service animals and assistance animals, ADA Compliance can offer training on this topic. Training will address associated laws, campus policies, and how to assist individuals with disabilities who have a service or assistance animal. Additional information, including guidelines, animal behavior, and handler responsibilities can be found through Disability Services.