Policy Regarding Animals in the Building
As a WISE church, First Congregational UCC recognizes the need and benefit that an animal may provide to someone, especially when attending worship at our building.
o An animal may be needed to assist with physical limitations
o The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the service animal must be directly related to the person’s disability.
o We welcome people with service animals on ministry premises. Ministry leaders may ask individuals with service animals a few questions, including:
o Is the animal required because of a disability?
o What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
o An animal may be desired to assist with emotional support
o An emotional support animal (also known as a comfort animal) provides reassurance just by being with a person. Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and many other species can serve as emotional support animals.
o Our church has chosen to allow emotional support animals on its premises, if these two conditions are met:
o The animal owner has obtained prior approval from the pastor, or the pastor’s designee;
o The animal does not pose a threat of harm or disruption to others.
Individuals who bring a service or emotional support animal onto our premises are expected to:
1. Keep the animal harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with an animal’s work or an owner’s disability prevents them from using these devices.
2. Control the animal through voice signal or other effective controls, if the animal cannot be harnessed, leashed, or tethered.
3. Be responsible for properly containing and disposing of all animal waste.
4. Be responsible for all damages and/or injuries caused by the animal.
The church does not have to provide care, food, or a special location for the service or emotional support animal to relieve itself. We reserve the right to remove an animal from the premises if it:
1. Is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it.
2. Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
3. Is not housebroken.
The church has the following expectations:
1. Animals should be well-behaved and not interrupt worship proceedings.
2. Animals should be trained to not soil or damage furnishings.
3. Animals should remain with their owner
Recognizing that some people may have severe allergies to animals or fear/dislike of specific kinds of animals, we will try to mutually accommodate the situation so all are comfortable and feel welcomed.
Approved by Church Council 9/15/21