OCC’s Service Animal Policy


Amanda Rodriguez, Editor

Ocean County College is enforcing the policy on Service Animals to encourage students to practice proper service animal etiquette.

Ocean County College strives to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors, including those who use service animals. Service animals have important jobs. They are specifically trained to help people with disabilities. Because of their specific training and role in the life of their handler, it is necessary that etiquette and guidelines are followed in the presence of a service animal to allow for the safety of both parties.

Ocean County College’s policy on Service Animals (#2330) is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The policy on Service Animals ensures access for individuals who demonstrate a need for a service animal. It also provides clear guidance on how students should interact with a service animal. Inappropriate interaction with a service animal includes, but is not limited to speaking to, whistling, cooing, petting or asking to pet, tapping your leg or clapping your hands, or giving the animal food or treats. Even if the service animal looks like it may be “resting” or “off-duty,” do not assume you can interact with it.

Service animals are an invaluable tool for their handlers. They provide mobility, inclusion, independence, comfort, and help foster social interaction through their very presence. Practicing proper service animal etiquette can help support a safe and inclusive environment for all.