This article gives information and guidance to students on the use of Assistance Dogs on the campus at the University of Portsmouth.



The University of Portsmouth does not allow students to bring animals on campus, or within any of its leased property including sports facilities.Animals are not allowed within the working environment of the University, nor in the Halls of Residence or any other University residential accommodation.



The exceptions to this Policy are Assistance Dogs which are required to provide reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 for staff or students with disabilities.Assistance dogs are usually those dogs classed as guide, hearing, service, medical alert or seizure dogs.They are allowed on campus under the strict control of their owner.Assistance dogs are working animals performing tasks to support their owner and are not pets.


Therapy Dogs

These dogs are approved as part of an individual’s treatment for physical or mental health conditions.The aim of this therapy is to improve an individual’s emotional or cognitive functioning but unlike an Assistance Dog, does not support their owner’s mobility, or daily tasks.Therefore they are not required to accompany a person on campus.The University has a Student Wellbeing Service for students who can offer referral for emotional and cognitive support.However, if the University is asked to consider access for a Therapy dog, then this will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


  • The owner of an Assistance Dog must confirm that their animal has been trained through one of the Assistance Dogs UK (AD(UK)), or equivalent organisation in another country eg. Assistance Dogs International or International Guide Dogs Federation. The University acknowledges that AD (UK) is a voluntary coalition of accredited assistance dog charities who provide highly trained dogs to owners who have received specialised training in the safe and effective use of their dog.
  • The owner must carry their identification card at all times they are on campus.This card will contain information on the owner, their dog, the training provided and the organisation who provided the training for both parties. Before a student brings their Assistance Dog onto University property they will be asked by their nominated Disability Officer to provide a copy of their public liability insurance and confirmation of training.
  • Whilst on campus, the dog must wear the organisation’s jacket, have a branded lead/harness/collar or something which is clearly identifiable whilst on duty.
  • Owners must take full responsibility for their Assistance Dog’s behaviour whilst on University property and be mindful of certain issues which could arise due to phobia or religious belief. Assistance Dogs should be toileted in the designated areas on campus for this purpose which can be identified when in discussion with their Disability Officer.Owners are responsible for ensuring their animal’s waste is disposed of appropriately and promptly.The exception to this requirement are registered blind who are not required to clean up after their Guide dogs but who will have received appropriate training which means their dog will not toilet on campus.
  • If the Assistance dog is trained in medical alert, their behaviour may change and they can appear to misbehave.Staff and students of the University are advised not to approach the dog when this is the case; owners are trained to recognise and handle misbehaving animals.


Evacuation Procedures and Access

In the event of an emergency, the owner of an Assistance Dog will have established who is responsible for evacuating the Assistance Dog from any building.This is determined in accordance with the Health and Safety Regulations and their academic department.

Assistance Dog owners will ensure that their dogs do not cause harm, injury or damage to others or University property.

Assistance dog owners must acknowledge any access restrictions based on the grounds of Health and Safety.They must ensure that the assistance dogs do not enter staff and students’ private spaces eg. Halls accommodation, without permission.

The University community should respect that these are working animals.Staff and students of the University should not approach these dogs whilst they are working.Nor should the animals be deliberately frightened or distracted from their purpose.When you meet an Assistance dog and its owner, you should not pet or feed the animal but you may wish to speak with their owner.


AD (UK) Member Organisations

Canine Partners

Assistance in Disability Dogs (AID)

Dogs for Good

Guide Dogs

Hearing Dogs for the Deaf

Medical Detection Dogs

Support Dogs

The Seeing Dogs Alliance