Training on Service Animals in Clackamas County Buildings

What is a service animal?

A service animal is a dog that is trained, or in training, to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are generally not service animals1. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to an individual's disability. Emotional support, companion, and comfort animals are generally not service animals. 28 C.F.R. §35.104; ORS 659A.143; OAR 839-006-0345.

Are service animals allowed in County buildings?

Yes. State and Federal law generally require service animals to be allowed in places open to the public such as the public areas within County buildings.

Animals that are not service animals are generally not allowed in County buildings.

What should I do if someone brings an animal into a County building?

  1. Ask the person if they are a County employee.
    • If the person is a County employee, ask for the employee’s name and then notify Kristi Durham at Human Resources. Do not ask further questions and do not attempt to make the employee remove the animal.
    • If the person is not a County employee, proceed to question number 2.

  2. Ask the person if the animal is required because of a disability. 28 C.F.R. §35.136; OAR 839-006-0345. NOTE: Do not ask the person about their specific disability.
    • If the person answers ‘no’ then the animal is not a service animal and is not allowed in County buildings. Politely request that the person remove the animal. If the person refuses, contact a supervisor.
    • If the person answers ‘yes’ and the work or task that the animal performs is readily apparent, then the animal is a service animal that is permitted in County buildings. Do not ask further questions.
    • If the person answers ‘yes’ but the work or task that the animal performs is not readily apparent, then proceed to question number 3.

  3. Ask the person to describe the work or tasks that the animal is trained to perform. 28 C.F.R. §35.136; OAR 839-006-0345.
    • If the person is able to provide a reasonable description of work or tasks that the animal is trained to perform, then the animal is a service animal that is permitted in County buildings. Do not ask further questions.
    • Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. 28 C.F.R. 35.104.
    • If the person is unable to provide a reasonable description of work or tasks that the animal is trained to perform, the animal is not a service animal and is not allowed in County buildings. Politely request that the person remove the animal. If the person refuses, contact a supervisor.

1A miniature horse may also be a service animal if it has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability. If a miniature horse is brought into a County building, contact a supervisor for assistance.

Can I ask questions that are not listed in this training?

No. Only the questions described in this training may be asked of a person bringing an animal into a County building. These questions are expressly allowed by law and other questions are largely prohibited.

Specifically, County staff may not ask a person about the nature or extent of their disability, nor can County staff ask for documentation or certification to prove that an animal is a service animal.

What about service animals that are not housebroken or that are not kept under control by their handler?

County staff may ask a person with a service animal to remove the animal from a County building if the animal (1) is not housebroken, or (2) is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it. 28 C.F.R. 35.136; OAR 839-006-0345.

Are emotional support animals allowed in County buildings?

Animals used solely for the provision of emotional support, comfort, or companionship are not service animals because such animals are not trained to perform work or tasks for a person with a disability. 28 C.F.R. 35.104.

As to members of the public, only service animals are allowed in County buildings. If a member of the public brings an animal into a County building that is not a service animal, politely request that the person remove the animal. If the person refuses, contact a supervisor.

As to County employees, it is possible that in some circumstances an employee may be permitted to have an emotional support animal with him or her at work in County buildings. Such a determination is made by HR in conjunction with the employee’s supervisor(s). If an employee has an animal with them in a County building, ask for the employee’s name and then notify Kristi Durham at Human Resources. Do not ask further questions of the employee and do not attempt to make the employee remove the animal.

What if I have further questions about animals in County buildings?

Contact your supervisor and/or any of the following people:

Jeff Jorgensen
Facilities Manager
JeffJor@clackamas.us
x6414

Kristi Durham
Human Resources Manager
KDurham@clackamas.us
x5470

Emmett Wheatfall
Assistant County Administrator
EWheatfall@clackamas.us
x8291

Scott Ciecko
Assistant County Counsel
SCiecko@clackamas.us
x8362