Animals in the Library

Library patrons are prohibited from bringing animals into any library facility, with the exception of service animals accompanying a person with a disability.

As defined in federal law, service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler's disability.[1]

A staff member may ask anyone bringing an animal into a library the following question if it is not readily apparent that the animal is a trained service animal:

  • Has this animal been individually trained to perform work or a task required because of a disability?

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.
  • 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.
  • Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or
    interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.
  • Providing safety checks for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Functions that are not work or tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence.
  • The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship (commonly referred to as “emotional support animals”).

While present at any library facility, a service animal shall be under the control of its handler. Usually this means the service animal must have a harness, leash, or other tether.

Anytime a service animal is behaving in a manner incompatible with the essential purposes of the library, the library will immediately require that the service animal be brought into conformity or leave the library.

Incompatible behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Barking/loud behavior.
  • Urinating/defecating on the floor.
  • Running away or otherwise leaving the side of the owner.
  • Biting or other threatening actions such as growling, teeth bared, lunging on others
    besides animal owner.
  • Damaging library property or the property of others.

[1] - 8 C.F.R. § 35.136(f).

Approved by: Monique le Conge Ziesenhenne, Library Director (Date: August, 2014)
Approved as to form: Albert S. Yang, Deputy City Attorney

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