Service Animals and Service Animals in Training

The University of Michigan Health team is committed to accommodating patients by permitting service animals and service animals in training to accompany them during their visits to our hospitals and health centers. 

To help ensure a positive experience for both you and our staff, we ask that you follow our simple rules when bringing your service animal or service animal in training to our facilities. 

What is a service animal or a service animal in training? 

A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained, or in training, to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other disability. A service animal in training is a dog or miniature horse accompanied by an animal raiser or trainer with the intent of being raised, socialized and trained to become a service animal. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the person's disability. Service animals are not considered "pets" because they are specially trained to help a person overcome the limitations caused by a disability. Please note that an emotional support animal is not a service animal or service animal in training. 

Can I bring my service animal or service animal in training to University of Michigan Health? 

Yes. University of Michigan Health welcomes the use of service animals or service animals in training by any person with a disability. As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. 

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. 

Where is my service animal or service animal in training allowed to go? 

Service animals or service animals in training are permitted in any area open to the general public, including maternal child health areas. They, however, are not permitted in the following areas due to patient and employee safety: 

Areas where invasive procedures are performed (e.g., sterile surgical areas, operating rooms, interventional radiology or cardiac procedures areas). 

Areas utilizing ionizing radiation, magnetic fields and radiofrequency waves due to radiation exposure concerns (e.g., general radiology exams, MRI, CT, PET and Nuclear Medicine).

Do I need to keep my service animal or service animal in training on a leash? 

Yes. Service animals or service animals in training must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered unless these devices interfere with their work or your disability prevents using these devices. In that case, you must maintain control of your animal through voice, signal or other effective controls. You are responsible for the care and behavior management of the animal, including any recovery and disposal of excreta.  

Is there a pet relief area for my service animal or service animal in training? 

Yes. There are designated pet relief areas on the medical campus. These areas are located in front of Parking Structure P2 and near Parking Structure P4 outside of Mott. The areas have signs asking that owners/handlers clean up after their animals.  

Who is responsible for the care of my service animal or service animal in training during my visit? 

Total responsibility for the care and management of your service animal or service animal in training lies with the adult owner/handler accompanying the animal. U-M Health employees will not assume any liability or responsibility for the safety, health, maintenance or security of these animals. The owner/handler is responsible for any damages or clean-up required. 

When might my service animal or service animal in training be removed from U-M Health? 

If an animal is disruptive, barking, not housebroken, not under the control of the owner/handler, or presents a direct threat to the safety of other patients, visitors, staff, or property, the animal must be removed from U-M Health by the owner/handler. In the event of an animal bite or related injury to a patient, the patient's physician should be notified. If the injured person is not a patient, direct them to the Emergency Department or contact the Michigan Outpatient Visitor Employee First Aid Team (MOVE) by calling 999. File a patient safety report. 

What happens if U-M Health employees have to take over care of my service animal or service animal in training? 

You should have a plan for your service animal or service animal in training in case you are unable to provide care at any point, or if you must go to an area where your animal is not allowed. If it becomes necessary to separate an animal from its owner/handler, U-M Health employees need to make all reasonable efforts to facilitate the transfer of the animal to a designated family member or friend prior to separation. If the owner/handler experiences an unanticipated emergency, and no family member, friend, or other responsible party is present, employees must make temporary arrangements for the care and supervision of the animal.