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Animals in the Library

To prevent possible damage to library facilities and property, and possible injury to library users and staff, animals are not permitted in any Massanutten Regional Library branch, except for:

  • Use or exhibition for a valid purpose, as determined by the Library Director or designee, only when such use or exhibition has been pre-approved by the Library Director or designee, who shall provide such approval on a case-by-case basis.

Service animals as defined in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2010 Revised Requirements: Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Virginia state law does require a service animal to be identified as such, with a harness, vest, or blaze orange leash. Handlers are expected to clean up after their animals while the animal is on Library premises.
Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA or Virginia laws.
In situations where it is not apparent, MRL staff are permitted to ask a library user if their animal a) is a service animal and, b) what work or task the service animal has been trained to perform.

A service animal must be under the control of its handler. A harness, leash or other tether should be used unless:
1. A disability prevents the handler from use of a harness, leash or tether; or
2. The harness, leash or tether would interfere with the work of the service animal. In such cases, voice control, signals, etc. must be used.

The Library may request that a service animal be removed from the facility, and further deny access, if the animal:
1. Is out of control and the handler cannot regain control of the animal.
2. Is not housebroken.
3. Poses a direct threat (to include threats from parasites present on the animal to the health and safety of others.)

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