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The YMCA of Central Kentucky prohibits bringing a pet (a domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship) to work or having a pet in YMCA-controlled buildings and premises, with the exception of service animals providing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodations for a person with disabilities. 

Service Animals
According to the ADA, a service animal is defined as “any animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, and alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders, or pulling a wheelchair and fetching dropped items.” 

A person with a disability uses a service animal as an auxiliary aid. In compliance with the ADA, service animals are welcome in all buildings on YMCA property and may attend any class, meeting or other event. Service animals are not permitted in pools, hot tubs, splash pads or other water areas. 

Not all animals that individuals with a disability rely on meet the definition of a service animal for purposes of ADA. Per the ADA, Individuals with a disability may use and interact with working animals for a variety of reasons, but only animals who have received specialized training to perform a specific task or tasks for an individual with a disability are considered service animals. This is the key difference between a service animal and all other types of working animals, including therapy, comfort animals, and emotional support animals. Animals that do not meet the definition of a service animal for purposes of ADA are not permitted on YMCA premises. 

Employees, members or program participants requesting accommodation for a disability that includes a service animal must contact the YMCA’s human resource (HR) department. Members and participants who require service animals should register with the HR department and at the YMCA location where the member or program participant attends. Contact HR at (859) 367-7342 or

 Requirements of service animals and their owners include: 

  •  All animals need to be immunized against rabies and other diseases common to that type of animal. All vaccinations must be current. Documentation must be kept in the membership file. 
  • Animals must wear a rabies vaccination tag. 
  • All dogs must be licensed per state law. Documentation must be kept in the membership file. 
  • Service animals must wear an owner identification tag (which includes the name and phone number of the owner) at all times. 
  • Animals must be in good health. 
  • Animals must be on a leash, harness or other type of restraint at all times, unless the owner/partner is unable to retain an animal on leash due to a disability. 
  • The owner must be in full control of the animal at all times. The care and supervision of the animal is solely the responsibility of the owner/partner. 
  • The owner/partner must provide the HR department staff with information as to the work or task the dog has been trained to perform to support the disability. 

Reasonable behavior is expected from service animals while on YMCA property. The owners of disruptive and aggressive service animals may be asked to remove them from YMCA facilities. Disruptive behavior includes barking, whining, jumping on people or being allowed to roam freely in a class or program area. Animals exhibiting any kind of aggressive behavior, snarling, snapping or biting or lunging toward people, must be removed from the facility immediately. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be told not to bring the service animal into any facility until the owner takes significant steps to mitigate the behavior. 

Cleanliness of the service animal is mandatory. Consideration of others must be taken into account when providing maintenance and hygiene of service animals. The owner/partner is expected to clean and dispose of all animal waste.