Service & Emotional Support Animals

Bringing service and emotional support animals to IU

Service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The university also recognizes miniature horses as a service animal consistent with relevant ADA guidelines and regulations. Examples of tasks that a service animal might perform include:

  • Guiding a person who is blind
  • Alerting a person who is 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 during an anxiety attack

Service animals are welcome anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus (exceptions may exist for health and safety reasons). Contact DSS if there are concerns.

Emotional support animals are not considered service animals under the ADA, and they are not granted access to areas of public accommodation at IU Bloomington. They are permitted in student housing with prior approval.

Information for students

If you are a student with a diagnosed disability and you need to use a service animal on campus it is helpful to contact disability services and residential services (if living on campus). This is not required, but may assist with a smooth transition to campus.

If you want to have an emotional support animal in student housing, you must:

  • Register for services through the Office of Disability Services for Students (DSS)
  • Provide documentation of the relationship between your disability and the specific assistance provided by your service animal or emotional support animal

Letters purchased over the internet, based on limited contact with a provider and a relationship begun for the express purpose of getting ESA documentation, do not meet State of Indiana guidelines.

a golden retriever wearing a  harness that says "service dog"