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Animals in the library


The library recognizes the need, at times, to have specially-trained animals that assist persons with disabilities. It also recognizes the need to minimize the potential health and safety risks to the public and employees that may result from the presence of animals at the library.

Guiding principles

These guidelines are informed by the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act.

Scope

These guidelines apply to everyone using the library building.

Definitions

Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities - such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not "pets," and include therapy animals (e.g. therapy dogs).

Guidelines

To balance customer needs with health and safety concerns, only service animals may visit the library. Service animals must be restrained, be fully under their handler’s control at all times and shall not unreasonably interfere with the health and safety of other library users.

A staff member attempting to ascertain whether an animal is a service animal shall not ask about the nature of a person's disability, but may ask for proof of the service animal’s status (e.g. government certificate, doctor’s note). Any concern about potential misrepresentation should be brought to the attention of a supervisor.

Staff may exercise discretion in enforcing these guidelines for customers with non-service animals who are engaging in brief transactions ONLY (e.g. picking up a hold or returning materials), provided:

  • The non-service animal is restrained (e.g. leashed or in a cage or pet carrier) and fully under their handler’s control at all times
  • The non-service animal is not causing a disturbance (e.g. barking)
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