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Guidelines for Animals in the Library

Guidelines for Animals in the Library

The Public Library of New London welcomes service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Other pets and ‘comfort’ animals are not permitted within the library building unless specifically invited for participation in a library-sponsored or hosted program.

The ADA defines “service animals” as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Service animal is limited to the animals defined under the ADA and does not include any other species of animal, wild or domestic, trained or untrained. Service animal does not include an animal used or relied upon for crime deterrence, emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship. A note from a doctor does not convert a comfort animal into a service animal.

Library staff has the right to ask the animal’s handler:

(1) Is this a service animal?  and

(2) What specific work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

The handler is not required to provide documentation about the service animal or to prove a disability. Service animals are not required to be licensed or certified, or to be identified by a special harness or collar. Service animals must be on a leash or harness at all times, unless the use of a leash or harness interferes with the animal’s effective performance of its task. If the animal cannot be leashed or harnessed, it must be under the handler’s control via voice, signals or other effective means at all times. The animal’s handler is solely responsible for the supervision and care of the service animal and must be in full control of the animal at all times. Therefore, owners must keep the service animal directly with them at all times.

The Library retains discretion to exclude or remove a service animal from Library property if:​

  • The service animal is out of control and/or the service animal’s handler does not effectively control the service animal’s behavior
  • The service animal is not housebroken
  • The service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable modifications
  • Permitting the service animal would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program or activity.

The animal’s handler will be responsible for any damage to Library or personal property and any injuries to individuals caused by the service animal. Anyone using a service animal on Library property will hold the Library harmless and indemnify the Library from any such damages.

Misrepresenting a dog as a service animal is a violation of the Library’s Patron Code of Conduct, and may result in suspension of library privileges. Observing the above helps make the library a safe, clean and friendly place for the entire community. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.