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Welcome to Service and Assistance Animals on Campus!

A golden retriever wearing a Service Animal vest sits on grass next to a woman.

Excited students laughs while petting a puppy at the Rent a Puppy event

Clemson University is dedicated to creating an environment that is accessible to all students, faculty and staff. Clemson complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act in allowing the use of Service Animals and approved Service Animals in Training on campus. Clemson also complies with the Fair Housing Act in allowing approved Emotional Support Animals in campus housing. Clemson University has developed guidelines to preserve the rights of handlers and to promote the safety of animals on all Clemson University owned or managed property.


  • Service Animal

    Any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-covered disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The work or task the service animal performs must be directly related to the individual’s disability. In certain cases, a miniature horse may be considered a service animal and all the provisions in these guidelines and operating procedures that apply to Service Animals also apply to these miniature horses. Pets are not considered to be service animals; criminal penalties exist for representing a pet as a service animal.

    Note: Federal law restricts questioning the handlers of service animals to the following:

    • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
    • What disability-related work or task(s) has the animal been trained to perform?
  • Service Animal in Training

    Dogs being trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA. “Examples of such work or tasks include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.” Dogs must be at least six months of age and be responsive to obedience commands. Basic obedience training for puppies, typically recognized as puppy raising, represents a small portion of initial behavior training that may lead to certification of service animals. By itself, activities related to basic obedience training for puppies do not qualify the animal as a service animal in training. Pets, foster animals not being cared for by a service animal owner or handler, and puppies receiving bladder control training and/or general socialization or obedience training are not service animals in training. To be considered a Service Animal in Training, the animal must be registered as such with the University.

  • Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

    Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are also classified as assistance animals and are recognized by the Fair Housing Act. They provide emotional support to individuals with a mental or psychiatric disability but are not considered service animals. ESA are only allowed for persons residing in campus housing. ESA must remain in campus housing or its immediate surrounding area and are not allowed in other university buildings.

  • Therapy Animals

    Therapy Animals are classified as assistance animals and trained to provide comfort and affection to persons other than their handler. They are specially trained to interact safely with others in a wide variety of environments and with many populations. 

  • Animals for Exhibition

    Animals for Exhibition are those brought to campus for display. Examples include petting zoos or displays of farm or exotic animals.

  • Pets

    Any animal maintained on or brought to the University property with the exception of those:

    • approved for education, research, or agricultural purposes
    • identified as Service Animal, Service Animal in Training, or approved Assistance Animal by the University
    • certified and approved for work on behalf local, state, and federal emergency services