To maintain a safe and comfortable environment for all library patrons, it is the policy of Black Earth Public Library (BEPL) to prohibit all animals from entering library facilities, with the exception of service animals, service animal trainees, and animals featured in BEPL-sponsored programs.
Under Wisconsin law, “service animal” means “a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal that is individually trained or is being trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a personal with a disability, including the work or task of guiding a person with impaired vision, alerting a person with impaired hearing to intruders or sound, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items.” Wis. Stat. 106.52(1)(fm).
While BEPL occasionally presents educational programs featuring animals, members of the public may only enter the library with an animal if it is a service animal requiring accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, and the task(s) performed must be directly related to the disability.
Emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. (28 CFR 35.104 “Service animal”)
If it is not obvious an animal brought into the library is a service animal, a BEPL staff member may ask the following questions:
- Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
- What specific work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
A staff member attempting to ascertain whether an animal is a service animal may not ask about the nature of a person’s disability, or ask for documentation of a disability or service animal status.
By ADA stipulation, service animals must be under the immediate control of their handlers at all times. Therefore, service animals which are not housebroken, bark, are uncontrolled, or are otherwise disruptive will be required to leave the premises. Animals may never be left unattended on library grounds.
Service animals are not allowed on library furniture or fixtures, and must remain on the floor or be carried (as appropriate) by their handlers at all times.
Misrepresenting an animal as a service animal is a violation of the library’s code of conduct, and may result in the suspension of library privileges, per the discretion of the Library Director. Appeals of the library director’s decision can be directed to the Library Board. For more information on the ADA service animal definitions and requirements, visit the references below.
Federal ADA resources:
Wisconsin state resources: