Service Animal Policy

OSS Health will follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) under the United States Department of Justice for guidance on service animals in the facility.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

Civil rights law that prohibits the discrimination of individuals with disabilities from everyday activities.

Service animals:

Defined by the ADA as dogs that are individually trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Emotion support animal:

Any animal that provides emotional support to comfort and calm an individual.

Dogs or other animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. Service animals specifically trained to aid a person with a disability are welcome.

The patient or handler of the service animal must be in control of the service animal at all times. Service animals who are out of control (barking, jumping, urinating or defecating in the facility or forcefully interacting with anyone other than the handler unless such activities are part of the animals training to alert others for a reason) will be asked to leave the facility.

  • Service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
  • Service animals may accompany its visitor/owner to pre-op/PACU area. It is preferred that the manager of the area be notified before the procedure to allow for special accommodations to be made.
  • If the patient with a service animal must remain overnight, arrangements should be made by the patient to have a family member stay to care for the animal or to have the service animal taken home.
  • If patient is unable to have service animal cared for by another individual, staff will not be expected to assist with caring for the service animal.
  • Request for service animals other than those defined by the ADA will be reviewed with the Director of Quality and Risk Management, Infection Prevention Coordinator and department manager to determine a safe plan for animal visitation.


ADA-Frequently asked questions about service animals and the ADA (2020, February 28). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division:

PA-Service animals in public places. (n.d.). Retrieved 2023, from Disability Rights Pennsylvania: