Introduction

Bridges Oregon addresses the agency’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), as well as the Oregon Revised Statutes.

These procedures serve to operationalize that policy in regard to ensuring that Staff, advocates, contractors, clients, volunteers, consultants, board members, and student interns with disabilities who rely on service animals can participate in and benefit from Bridges Oregon services, programs, and activities, and to ensure that Bridges Oregon does not discriminate on the basis of disability as identified in Titles I and II of the ADA, Section 504, and state anti-discrimination laws (ORS 659A.100 -659A.127 and 346.610-346687).

Primary Agency Contacts

  • Staff and clients may contact the Executive Director for information or guidance. 
  • Employees may request to have a service animal as a workplace accommodation through the company’s premises. 
  • Guests may be accompanied by a service animal when participating in programs and accessing services without requesting an accommodation, but are welcome to contact the Executive Director for information or guidance.

Definition

“Company premises” includes all buildings, offices, facilities, grounds, parking lots, lockers, places and vehicles owned, leased or managed by Bridges Oregon or any site on which the company is conducting business.

General Rule regarding Service Animals

As a general rule, Bridges Oregon will modify policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.

Restrictions and Exclusions

Bridges Oregon may impose some restrictions or remove from a company premises a service animal that is out-of-control, not housebroken, poses a direct threat to health and safety of others, or whose presence fundamentally alters a program, service, or activity. Restrictions or removals are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable laws.

In determining whether a service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, Bridges Oregon will make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.

In those circumstances where a service animal is believed to fundamentally alter a service, program, or activity, Bridges Oregon has the burden of proving that a fundamental alteration would occur. The decision that allowing the service animal would result in a fundamental alteration must be made by the Executive Director or their designee, for example, the Board Chair. The disabled individual must be provided with a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion. If allowing the service animal would result in a fundamental alteration, Bridges Oregon shall take other actions to nevertheless ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services provided by Bridges Oregon.

In the event restriction or removal of a service animal is determined to be necessary, Bridges Oregon will take other actions to ensure that the disabled individual will still be offered the opportunity to participate in services, programs and activities without having the service animal present.

Questions about restrictions on service animals should be directed to the contacts in Primary Agency Contacts.

Responsibilities of Individuals using Service Animals

An individual with a service animal is responsible for the following:

  1. Ensure that the animal is under control of its handler by means of a harness, on a leash or tether in most cases. In instances where a person’s disability or the service animal’s performance of work or tasks precludes use of a harness, leash or tether, the service animal must still otherwise be under control (e.g. by voice control, signals, or other effective means). If an animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it, the matter will be addressed individually by the Executive Director.
  2. Be responsible for the care and supervision of the service animal .
  3.  Assure that service animals are housebroken (i.e., trained so that, absent illness or accident, the animal controls its waste elimination). Individuals with physical disabilities who cannot pick up and dispose of the animal’s waste should work with campus contacts to identify appropriate service animal toileting areas.
  4. Comply with Bridges Oregon’s policies, rules or procedures,.

Bridges Oregon may exclude a service animal from some or all parts of its property if the service animal (1) is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; (2) is not housebroken; (3) fundamentally alters the nature of Bridges Oregon’s programs, services, or activities; or (4) poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Requirements for Staff and Clients

Members of the Bridges Oregon community are responsible for the following:

  1. Allowing service animals to accompany the person they are assisting in all areas of campus where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
  2. Not distracting a service animal in any way. Do not pet, feed, or interact with the animal without the handler’s permission.
  3. Not separating a disabled person from their service animal.
  4. Clarifying an animal’s status as a service animal only when it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal. In such cases, designated staff (i.e., Executive Director, program managers, or designee) may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, but may make two inquires to establish whether the animal is a service animal:
    1. Is the animal required because of a disability? and
    2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform?

Other questions regarding the status of a service animal should be referred to the contacts noted in Primary Agency Contacts. Bridges Oregon may take disciplinary action against any individual who fails to abide by these guidelines.

Communication Facilitators

Communication Facilitators are responsible for the following:

  1. Allowing service animals to accompany the person they are assisting in all areas of campus where members of the public, participants in services, programs or activities, or invitees, as relevant, are allowed to go.
  2. Not distracting a service animal in any way. Do not pet, feed, or interact with the animal without the handler’s permission.
  3. Not separating a disabled person from their service animal.
  4. Clarifying an animal’s status as a service animal only when it is not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal. In such cases, designated staff (i.e., Executive Director, program managers, or designee) may not ask about the nature or extent of a person’s disability, but may make two inquires to establish whether the animal is a service animal:
    1. Is the animal required because of a disability? and
    2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform?

Other questions regarding the status of a service animal should be referred to the contacts noted in Primary Agency Contacts. Bridges Oregon may take disciplinary action against any individual who fails to abide by these guidelines.

Protocol for Exclusion of Service Animals

A community member may report a concern regarding a service animal to the Executive Director.

  1. In response to an immediate concern, the Executive Director may determine that a service animal must be removed from company premises on a temporary basis. The Executive Director will notify the person who experiences disability of this decision and the incident will be turned over to the points of contact indicated in Primary Agency Contacts.
  2. The designated point of contact will investigate all reported concerns and cases where service animals have been temporarily removed from campus and will consult with appropriate college personnel to determine whether or not the animal should be excluded from campus on a permanent basis.
  3. If it is appropriate for the animal to be excluded from campus permanently, the appropriate point of contact will work to ensure the individual receives appropriate accommodations in place of the use of a service animal.
  4. An individual who does not agree with the resolution may file a complaint or grievance. Guidance on this process can be provided through the contacts listed in Primary Agency Contacts.

Conflicting Disabilities

Individuals with medical issues that may be impacted by the presence of service animals should communicate with the points of contact noted in Primary Agency Contacts if they have a concern about exposure to a service animal. The individual will be asked to provide documentation that identifies a disability and the need for accommodation. The appropriate Bridges Oregon point of contact will facilitate a process to resolve the conflict that considers the disability-related needs/accommodations of all persons involved.

Emergency Situations

Emergency Responders (ERs) are trained to recognize service animals and to be aware that animals may try to communicate the need for help or that an animal may become disoriented in an emergency situation. ERs should make every effort to keep a service animal with the disabled person it is tasked with assisting. However, the ER’s first effort should be toward the disabled person, which may result in the service animal being left behind in some emergency evacuation situations.

Enforcement

This policy is administered and enforced by an administrator department. Anyone with questions or concerns specific to this policy should contact the Executive Director.

Pets and Service Animals Policy Certificate of Receipt

I hereby certify that I have received a copy of Bridges Oregon Pets and Service Animals Policy.

__________________________________ __________________________

Employee (Contractor) Signature Date

Bridges Oregon Pets and Service Animals Policy, Rev 1.2
Revised: 11/9/2022 • Adopted: 6/30/2021 • Scheduled Review: 11/9/2024