Lassen Library Policy
Animals in the Library
Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees on April 16, 2014
Statement of Policy
Other than animals that serve as a service animal, as defined below, and animals that are participating in a library event, no animals are allowed in the library nor are they allowed to be unattended within 25 feet of the entrances to the library building.
The Lassen Library District has a legal obligation to the public that the facility is available without discrimination to all who choose to use it and to ensure that the library environment is a safe one. This document records the library district's policy on the presence of animals at the library and the rights and responsibilities of both the library and its patrons with regard to the presence of animals at the library.
The library does not provide facilities or resources with which an animal can be tied up outside the library and left unattended while its owner is in the library. Unattended animals at the library entrances constitute a health and a liability concern to the library and the library cannot allow unattended animals to potentially pose a legal or health risk to the public.
If library staff discovers that an animal is left unattended at the library's entrances, they will attempt to find its owner and advise them that the animal cannot be left unattended and ask that the animal be removed.
If staff cannot find the animal's owner or after failing to have the owner remove an animal after being notified to do so, staff will notify the Susanville Police Department of the unattended animal.
Occasionally, the library will sponsor an event or program that may involve the presence of animals. In these cases, the animals will be at the library only as long as they are required to be for the event/program and they will be kept under the direct control of their owner(s). The conditions governing the presence of animals at the library in connection with a library event/program will be governed by a written agreement between the library and the animal owner(s).
Per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and laws that implement the ADA in California and the City of Susanville, businesses and organizations that serve the public are required to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. Public libraries fall under the scope of these laws.
A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually and specifically trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Animals which meet this definition are considered service animals whether or not they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. Service animals, usually dogs of any breed or size, are working animals and are not considered pets. A service animal:
- guides people who are blind
- alerts people who are hearing impaired
- pulls wheelchairs
- alerts and protects a person who may have seizures
- performs other special tasks
California does not have a law or program by which an animal is certified to be a service animal nor does it require the animal to wear any identifying tag or garment that identifies the animal as a service animal. Although some service animals wear identifying harnesses or special collars, there is no requirement that service animals be so identified.
The key point about a service animal is that it has been individually trained to provide a specific service to a person with a disability. Library staff is permitted to ask two questions of a patron with an animal that go to that point:
- Is the animal a service animal?
- What tasks has the animal been trained to perform?
Staff members cannot ask questions such as the following:
- Does your service animal have an ID card?
- Has your animal been certified as a service animal?
- What is your disability?
Patrons with service animals will be treated with the same care and concern as any other library patron. Patrons with service animals should not expect faster or better service because they are accompanied by their service animal; they will not be charged a deposit or surcharge to be accompanied by their service animal; and they will not be segregated from other customers because of the service animal.
Library patrons with service animals are required to be responsible for their animal's actions and are liable for damage caused by their animal. The service animal must be in the presence of and under the direct control of the patron at all times while in the library. Under the law the library is not required to provide care or food for a service animal nor to provide a special location for the animal to relieve itself.
Library staff is permitted to ask a patron to remove their service animal from the library if the service animal:
- is not kept in the patron's presence or the patron is not trying to control it, or
- poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other people in the library. If this happens, the patron will be given the option of conducting their library business without having their service animal on the premises.