A-Z Index

Service Dogs


I. Policy Statement

It is the policy of Northwest Missouri State University that service dogs assisting individuals with physical disabilities are generally permitted in all facilities and programs on the university campus except as described below.

II. Definition

“Service dogs” are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform physical tasks for people with disabilities including, but not limited to guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, opening a door, 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. Service dogs are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service dogs under ADA.  

The ADA, Missouri law [RsMO 209.150] and Northwest Missouri State University Board of Regents Resolution [#9114] allow service dogs accompanying persons with disabilities to be on the Northwest Missouri State University campus. A service dog must be permitted to accompany a person with a disability everywhere on campus that the person would otherwise be allowed to go. However, there are some places on campus that are not safe for service dogs; these areas are discussed in greater detail, below.

III. When A Service Dog Can Be Asked to Leave

A service dog may be asked to leave a university facility or program if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, a service animal that displays vicious behavior toward people may be excluded.  Service dogs that are not housebroken can also be asked to leave university facilities and programs.  In addition, animals not covered under the ADA service animal definition can be asked to leave a university facility or program. Questions related to the use of service dogs on campus should be directed to

IV. Areas Where Service Dogs Are Not Allowed to Enter

Service dogs may also be excluded in areas where the presence of a service animal fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity or is disruptive.  Examples may include, but are not limited to, research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, and food preparation areas.  These areas are more thoroughly explained in the next section, and the chart in the Appendix lists the specific areas on campus where service dogs are excluded from entering.   

Areas Off Limits to Service Dogs

  • Research Laboratories: The natural organisms carried by dogs and other animals may negatively affect the outcome of the research. At the same time, the chemicals and/or organisms used in the research may be harmful to service animals.
  • Mechanical Rooms/Custodial Closets: Mechanical rooms, such as boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, electric closets, elevator control rooms and custodial closets, are off-limits to service animals. The machinery and/or chemicals in these rooms may be harmful to animals.
  • Food Preparation Areas:  Food preparation areas, such as those found in campus dining or in the Dietetics Labs, are off limits to service animals per health codes.
  • Areas Where Protective Clothing is Necessary: Any room where protective clothing is worn is off-limits to service animals. Examples impacting students include the kiln, chemistry laboratories, wood shops and metal/machine shops.
  • Areas Where There is a Danger to the Service Animal: Any room, including a classroom, where there are sharp metal cuttings or other sharp objects on the floor or protruding from a surface; where there is hot material on the floor (e.g., molten metal or glass); where there is a high level of dust; or where there is moving machinery is off-limits to service animals.


Permission to access restricted areas may be granted to an individual animal/partner team on a case-by-case basis. The access decision will be made by the AVP, Title IX and Equity, laboratory director or instructor, and, in some cases, the Chemical Safety Manager.

The final decision shall be made based on the nature of research or machinery and the best interest of the animal. Example: The machinery in a classroom may have moving parts at a height such that the tail of a large dog could easily be caught in it; this is a valid reason for keeping large dogs out. However, a very small hearing dog may be shorter than any moving part and, therefore, considered for admission to the classroom.

To be granted an exception: A partner who wants her or his service dog to be granted admission to an off-limits area should contact

V. Requirements for Service Dogs

The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have had the general maintenance vaccine series, which includes vaccinations against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and must receive booster vaccinations annually. All vaccinations must be current and the animal must be wearing current vaccination tags.
The City of Maryville ordinance [4890 §1, 7-9-90] waives City licensing requirements for dogs working as service dogs.
The animal must be in good health.  Animals to be housed in university housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian.
Service dogs must be on a leash or in harness at all times, unless impracticable or unfeasible due to handler’s disability.
Under Control of Partner/Handler
The handler of a service dog must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of a service dog is solely the responsibility of the handler.
Toileting Areas and the Cleanup Rule
The handler of a service dog should encourage the animal to use marked service dog toileting areas when such areas are provided and to properly dispose of animal waste.
The partner/handler of the service dog on the university campus or at an university event is personally responsible for the animal at all times.  The partner/handler may be required to pay for any damages caused by the service dog. 


Specific areas off-limits to Service Animals at Northwest Missouri State University:

School/Department Lab Activity Lab Director

Agricultural Sciences


Possible exposure to pesticides and fertilizers

Director, School of Agricultural Sciences

Ag Mechanics lab-Thompson-Ringold

Welding, woodworking, machine shop

Director, School of Agricultural Sciences

Fine and Performing Arts

Design Studio


Chair, Fine & Performing Arts Department 

Sculpture Studio


Chair, Fine & Performing Arts Department

Scene Shop

Welding, woodworking

Facility Manager, Ron Houston PAC

Health Science and Wellness

Dietetics lab

Food preparation areas

Director, School of Health Science and Wellness

Humanities and Social Sciences

History lab/Academic Resource Center

Sign shop materials: cutting tools, heat press, etc.

Chair, Humanities and Social Sciences Department

Natural Sciences

Chemistry labs

Experiments, hazardous chemicals, etc.

Chair, Natural Sciences Department

Saw room

Sawing rocks and minerals, requires safety glasses, etc.

Chair, Natural Sciences Department

Biology labs

Experiments, hazardous chemicals, etc.

Chair, Natural Sciences Department


Early Childhood Center kitchen

Food preparation

Director, Leet Early Childhood Center

Other Restricted Areas:

Maintenance shops and custodial closets

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Director, Facility Services

Food service preparation areas

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Director, Campus Dining Services

To be granted an exception: A partner who wants her or his service dog to be granted admission to an off-limits area should contact