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Assistance Dogs in University

harrisjcdharrisjcd Member Posts: 4 Listener
edited August 16 in Disabled people
I was hoping someone would be able to help. My friend and I are both Assistance Dog handlers who have independently trained our own dogs (in fact I've even started my own program for those with rare disabilities) and are hoping to start a university course starting in September. The degree is mostly distanced based but at the start of the year they do a mandatory block session on campus.

This year they have cancelled the session due to covid but still plan for it to go ahead next year.

The problem at hand is that the university is denying us the use of our assistance dogs on the basis that we cannot provide enough evidence that our dogs are trained. I'm not fussed myself as my dog is still in training but as the trainer that assessed his dog, I can tell you my friend's dog is highly trained and not an issue at all. At this point they are asking for more evidence than even British Airways have asked.

He has provided a public access test done to ADI standards, a list of tasks his dog performs and will also be providing a dr's letter noting why he needs his dog.

How do we prove to them that they cannot turn his dog away?

Replies

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,430 Pioneering
    Hello @harrisjcd, and welcome to the community :) 

    Just so you know, I've moved your post into the Disabled People category, as it's a lot more active than this one. 

    I'm sorry that you and your friend have had this problem, that sounds incredibly frustrating!

    I don't know what the protocol or policy was but, if it gives you any hope, I know that students were allowed to use their assistance dogs on campus at my university. I hope you can find an answer :)
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  • harrisjcdharrisjcd Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Hello @harrisjcd, and welcome to the community :) 

    Just so you know, I've moved your post into the Disabled People category, as it's a lot more active than this one. 

    I'm sorry that you and your friend have had this problem, that sounds incredibly frustrating!

    I don't know what the protocol or policy was but, if it gives you any hope, I know that students were allowed to use their assistance dogs on campus at my university. I hope you can find an answer :)
    Thank you!!
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,430 Pioneering
    No problem @harrisjcd :) And feel free to take a browse through the other sections of the community. @Cher_Scope recently wrote a post about assistance dogs that you might be interested in, for example
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  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 1,413 Disability Gamechanger
    It's a shame that they won't accept the dog, but it's their uni their rules i'm afraid.
  • harrisjcdharrisjcd Member Posts: 4 Listener
    woodbine said:
    It's a shame that they won't accept the dog, but it's their uni their rules i'm afraid.
    See that’s what they’ve told us but legally, they can’t pick and choose which assistances they will let in.
    Especially when we’ve proved this dog is trained to their standards but because he was trained by his owner, they’ve decided he’s not allowed.
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,422 Pioneering
    edited August 14
    HI @harrisjcd

    Have you spoken to your university's disability service about this? I'm really surprised and disappointed in the university's reaction.  I'm sorry you have been put in this situation.

    Just to add: I've done some research and unfortunately it sounds like it's standard policy to refuse assistance dogs not trained by recognised agencies.  For instance, the online Canterbury University assistance dog policy says:

    "On the grounds of Health and Safety responsibilities to its staff, students and visitors, the University reserves the right to refuse access for a dog that:
     
    i. Is not qualified by one of the five membership organisations of Assistance Dogs (UK)"

    If this is the case at your university, I'd recommend asking what alternative reasonable adjustments they can provide to ensure you can attend the physical campus for the mandatory sessions.  They have a duty to provide you with an inclusive education and could organise a personal attendant to help keep you safe.  

    Let us know how you get on :)


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  • harrisjcdharrisjcd Member Posts: 4 Listener
    HI @harrisjcd

    Have you spoken to your university's disability service about this? I'm really surprised and disappointed in the university's reaction.  I'm sorry you have been put in this situation.

    Just to add: I've done some research and unfortunately it sounds like it's standard policy to refuse assistance dogs not trained by recognised agencies.  For instance, the online Canterbury University assistance dog policy says:

    "On the grounds of Health and Safety responsibilities to its staff, students and visitors, the University reserves the right to refuse access for a dog that:
     
    i. Is not qualified by one of the five membership organisations of Assistance Dogs (UK)"

    If this is the case at your university, I'd recommend asking what alternative reasonable adjustments they can provide to ensure you can attend the physical campus for the mandatory sessions.  They have a duty to provide you with an inclusive education and could organise a personal attendant to help keep you safe.  

    Let us know how you get on :)


    So we thought we were speaking to disability but turns out we weren’t so that’s the next step.

    Unless they have any staff members that are suddenly able to tell when I’m about to collapse, they’re not going to be able to make any other adjustments 

    We will be having more discussion
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,422 Pioneering
    Let's hope you have more success speaking with the disability service.  

    Keep us updated with how your discussions go.
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,619 Scope community team
    Hi @harrisjcd and welcome to the community! I really hope disability services are able to be more accommodating for you. Please do let us know how you get on. :) 
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