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Service Animal Guidelines

Guidelines for Patients and Visitors with Service Animals

Service animals are welcome at Marshall and may accompany patients and visitors. The term “service animal” is used to include any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work and perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition, and, along with pets, are generally excluded from Marshall facilities.

Dogs and other animals whose sole function is for crime deterrence, comfort or emotional support are not considered service animals and will be excluded as well.

Patient safety is Marshall’s first priority. Please follow our simple rules when you bring your service animal to any of our locations. Click here to download the fact sheet.

Should I notify Marshall in advance that I will be bringing a service animal?

Inpatients who will be bringing a service animal are encouraged to notify their care team in advance of their appointment or visit.

Can I bring my service animal to my appointment, emergency department or inpatient stay?

Marshall welcomes your service animal during your visit. We encourage you to ask staff any questions you may have. Your service animal must be:

  • Healthy, clean and groomed (no fleas, ticks or sores)

  • House broken

  • Under your control with a leash or harness

  • Well-behaved (no uncontrolled barking, biting or scratching)

A service animal may be removed from the Marshall facility if the animal:

  • is not under the control of the patient (or visitor)

  • is not housebroken

  • exhibits aggressive behavior such as snarling, biting, scratching, or teeth baring

  • is excessively noisy

  • is determined to be infectious or ill

  • otherwise poses a direct risk to the health or safety of people or other service animals.

Should I bring any documentation about my service animal?

If you will be staying at Marshall Hospital as an inpatient, you must bring documentation of up-to-date vaccinations (shots) as required by local, county and state requirements. Please also have with you the name and telephone number of the veterinarian who cares for the animal. Outpatients and visitors with a service animal are not required to provide vaccine documentation due to the more limited frequency and duration of interactions with staff, patients and visitors.

Do I need to keep the service animal on a leash?

Service animals should be controlled with leashes, harness or tether. If you are not able to hold a leash, or if the leash would prevent the animal from performing its task, the service animal must be under your control through voice or hand commands at all times. Please tell anyone who approaches your service animal if they are interfering with your service animal’s ability to do their job.

What should I bring with me for my service animal?

  • Food and water, as well as medicine needed by your service animal

  • Leash, harness or tether

  • Plastic bags for solid waste

What questions will the staff ask me about my service animal?

The staff may ask what work or task has the animal been trained to perform to help you.

Who is responsible for the care of my service animal during my visit/stay?

You or your designee are responsible for feeding, toileting, and watching over the service animal. Marshall is not responsible to watch over or otherwise care for the service animal.

For the safety of your service animal, we will ask you for the name of a person to contact in case you are not able to communicate. Make sure to let the staff know about any of your arrangements to take care of the service animal if you cannot take care of the animal. We will also ask for a source of payment in case your service animal needs care or housing. Visiting or staying longer term in a healthcare facility likely increases the risk of the service animal acquiring an infection. Marshall is not responsible for costs related to an acquired infection.

Are there locations where my service animal is not allowed?

Service animals are not allowed in areas where they are at risk to patients or themselves. These areas include but are not limited to:

  • Operating/procedure rooms

  • MRI machines

You can go in public areas and most patient care areas with your service animal.

Is there a pet relief area for my service animal?

Please ask the staff for the nearest dog walking area. You are responsible to pick up solid waste in a plastic bag and throw it away in an outside trash can.

What happens if my service animal becomes a threat to others, bites or scratches someone at the facility?

You may be asked to remove your service animal from the facility if you cannot control them. If your service animal bites or scratches another person we will follow local and state reporting requirements.