Service Animals Access and Accommodations in University Research Facilities

Policy Information
Policy TitleService Animals Access and Accommodations in University Research Facilities
Responsible OfficeEnvironmental Health and Safety Office
Policy TypeFacilities and Property
Policy Number420
Last Revision Date1/24/2023


Binghamton University adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York law to provide access and accommodations to those accompanied by a service animal.  As per federal and state law, a service animal is permitted in all areas of Binghamton University facilities where researchers, the public, or visitors are allowed.   A service animal is permitted to accompany an individual with disabilities who is otherwise qualified to access a research facility when such can be safely achieved by providing reasonable accommodations tailored to the individual/handler and animal. Research facilities often contain hazards necessitating consultation, precautions and equipment to ensure a safe and effective environment.


Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.  A service animal is characterized as such to perform services directly related to a person’s disability.  An individual accompanied by a service animal is not to be asked what service the animal provides if it is apparent. If uncertain, a responsible identified party (faculty, building administrator, staff) providing access to a particular research facility and/or laboratory may only confirm that the individual is being accompanied by a service animal, and the tasks the service animal has been trained to perform.


Prior to authorizing a service animal access into a research facility or teaching laboratory, the responsible identified party of the facility (faculty, building administrator, staff) and the requesting individual/handler will consult with the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EH&S) in collaboration with the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSD).  The consultation to address any questions or clarification to be conducted by EH&S may include but is not limited to:

·         confirmation by the requesting individual that the service animal dog is required because of a disability

·         research to be conducted

·         research facility/specific laboratory space

·         specific tasks to be performed by the service animal

·         confirmation that the service animal has been trained to perform the identified specific tasks

·         safety of the service animal and handler

·         necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) for the service animal


If the consultation determines that the required tasks that are to be provided by the service animal can be performed safely, EH&S will inform the requesting individual, the identified responsible party of the facility/lab, and the building administrator.  The building administrator will inform those in research facilities where the service animal is authorized access.  The required PPE will be recommended by EH&S at the expense of the laboratory.  Environmental Health and Safety will provide consultation for the disinfection of affected surfaces.  

Upon determination that required tasks to be provided by the service animal cannot be performed safely (i.e. involving radioactive materials, BSL 2 containment, required physical separation due to interspecies conflicts), the requesting individual will be notified by EH&S.  The Services for Students with Disabilities Office and the applicable Human Resources Office will be notified of this determination.

If the requesting individual can perform the research without the service animal in a specific laboratory space but requires that the service animal to be in proximity, safe accommodations near the individual where the service animal can wait will be identified by EH&S in coordination with all consulting parties.    

The requesting individual/handler will be responsible that all PPE has been donned and doffed appropriately, and ensuring that no contaminants are present on the service animal upon exiting the laboratory. Items such as animal beds, toys, water, treats are not to be brought into the research facility.

Individuals within the research facility are to not to interact with or distract the service animal. Although it is not required that the service animal wear a vest of identification, the lab may require a visual form of identification for safety purposes. Research facility access by a service animal will be immediately revoked upon uncontrolled or disruptive behavior including but not limited to:

·         not following commands

·         barking

·         aggressive behavior

·         jumping, licking

·         rejection of PPE


The following departments can be contacted for those seeking guidance on service animal access an accommodation related to this policy.

·         Environmental Health and Safety 607-777-2211

·         Services for Student with Disabilities (SSD) 607-777-2686

·         Binghamton University Human Resources 607-777-2187

·         Binghamton University Research Foundation Human Resources 607-777-4264

·         Affirmative Action Office (AAO) 607-777-4775

·         Research Compliance 607-777-3532


Americans with Disabilities Act

New York State law

Animal Welfare Act, the Health Research Extension Act

Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals

US Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research and Training