Madigan Service Dog Policy


Madigan Service Dog Policy

Madigan Army Medical Center is committed not only to patient safety and superior health care, but also to providing a clean and functional work environment for our staff to safely and effectively care for their patients. As of March 25, 2017, Madigan’s new Service Dog Policy, Madigan Policy 190-09 will become effective, allowing only Military Working Dogs, Service Dogs obtained from a source accredited by Assistance Dogs International, and Service Dogs for patients who have obtained a letter from a medical physician stating that the individual requires the use of a Service Dog and the task the dog performs. Letters identifying the use of psychological, comfort, therapy and/or Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are not acceptable verification.

While Madigan is not generally bound by the provisions of the American's With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, it is the intent of The Surgeon General (TSG) and this command to act in accordance with the principles established in the ADA when such adherence does not hamper readiness or the appropriate provision of health care.

All Service Dogs must be registered with the Madigan Provost Marshal Office.

Here is a list of ADI-accredited locations in the United States.

For more information on the Madigan Service Dog Policy, please contact the Madigan Provost Marshal Office at 253-968-5963.

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions below.


Q1. What types of animals are permitted on hospital grounds?

A1. At this time, no other animals other than Service Dogs and Military Working Dogs will be allowed access. Psychological, comfort, therapy and/or Emotional Support Animals are not allowed.

Q2. What locations does this policy cover?

A2. Madigan Army Medical Center, Warrior Transition Battalion and California Medical Detachment, and any other outlying clinics under this command purview. This includes the South Sound and Puyallup Community Based Medical Homes; Winder, Okubo and McChord Clinics; all School Based Health Centers and Soldier Centered Medical Homes.

Q3. What constitutes a Service Dog?

A3. A Service Dog is a dog individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service Dogs include guide dogs that assist individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks. Generally, individuals requiring a Service Dog are expected to require the dog for an extended period of time, often for life. Currently, Regional Health Command - Pacific does not recognize SERVICE DOGS for behavioral health conditions, and therefore psychological service dogs are not considered service dogs for the purposes of this policy at this time. The Regional Health Command - Pacific recognizes Service Dogs who are certified by organizations who are accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI).
In addition to Service Dogs obtained from ADI-accredited sources, an individual may bring a Service Dog on to hospital premises if he/she has a letter from a medical physician that the individual requires the use of a Service Dog and the task the dog performs. Letters identifying the use of psychological, comfort, therapy and/or Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are not acceptable verification.

Q4. What constitutes a Military Working Dog?

A4: Any government-owned dog that was procured, acquired or bred to meet working dog requirements of the military departments and DoD agencies. (AR 700-81)

Q5. Who is eligible to bring a Service Dog or Military Working Dog to Madigan?

A5: This regulation is applicable to all Madigan personnel, staff with disabilities, retirees, beneficiaries, Service Members, Family Members with disabilities, and guests.

Q6. Are there any exceptions to this policy?

A6: Exceptions to this policy will only be considered for those patients in a terminally ill status, as determined by their medical care team. In unusual circumstances, such as a terminally ill patient who is unlikely to return home, a patient may submit a request to the hospital commander for an exception to policy for a visit with the patient’s pet. Upon conferring with the patient’s medical team, the commander may issue an exception to policy and the pet may visit ONLY IF ALL CONDITIONS ARE MET BELOW:

  • The pet is clear of fleas/ticks/parasites and skin disorders
  • The pet is under the control of a responsible person at all times
  • The pet will ONLY visit its owner/patient
  • No other patient/staff may have contact with the pet
  • The pet will be checked in with the Madigan Provost Marshal Office with documentation of the commander’s permission and will receive temporary badging
  • The pet will be brought directly to and from the patient’s room; the pet is not permitted in any common area

Prior approval from the Madigan Commander is required for any access by a therapy animal aiding in clinical care. Red Cross therapy dogs, for instance, will follow this process.

Q7. Is Madigan bound by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

A7: Generally, no. Federal agencies, like Madigan and all outlying clinics that fall under this command, are not bound by the ADA; however, for the sake of this policy, it is the intent of the Surgeon General of the United States Army Medical Command and the command of this hospital to act in accordance with the principles established by the ADA.


Q8. Can Service Dogs or Military Working Dogs be left unattended?

A8: No. A trained owner/handler must accompany the dog at all times.

Q9. What are the responsibilities of the owner/handler to the hospital staff?

A9: All owners/handlers must accompany their Service Dog or Military Working Dog at all times, and the animal must be on a leash. Owners/handlers are responsible for cleaning the animal’s waste, and are required to inform the nursing/hospital staff of any soiled areas to allow Housekeeping to disinfect equipment and the area. The owner/handler has full responsibility for the service dog while visiting MAMC/WTB/CALMED, including responsibility for the dog’s behavior and the animal’s good health. If either the owner/handler or the Madigan staff have any reason to question the good health of the service dog (vomiting, diarrhea, oculo-nasal discharge, coughing or sneezing, poor skin or coat condition, etc.), they will not allow the animal to enter MAMC/WTB/CALMED until cleared by a veterinarian.

Q10. What are the responsibilities of the owner/handler to other patients?

A10: All owners/handlers are required to prevent the animal from accepting food or licking/biting staff and other patients. The owner/handler will also instruct surrounding patients on the proper way to greet the dog to minimize risk to both patients and the dog.


Q11. What happens if the owner/handler cannot care for the Service Dog during his or her hospital visit?

A11: The owner/handler is required to accompany the Service Dog at all times, but may designate another person to care for the Service Dog. In the event the owner/handler is unable to tend to the Service Dog, it will be upon the owner/handler to ensure necessary accommodations are made for the care of the Service Dog. Hospital staff will not be required to feed, walk or clean up after a patient’s Service Dog, nor will the hospital staff be required to find reasonable accommodations for the Service Dog in the event the patient is unable to do so.

Q12. What happens if the owner/handler is admitted as an inpatient?

A12: Service Dogs are not permitted to stay overnight or for an extended period of time during the day. Owners/handlers must make all accommodations for their Service Dog to ensure it is cared for and maintained outside of the hospital. Service Members will activate their Animal Care Plan to ensure their dog’s well-being. Inpatients may request visitation with their Service Dog in accordance with MAMC Policy 190-09 and with the approval of the section OIC/Nursing staff.

Q13. What happens to the Service Dog when the owner/handler presents at the Emergency Room?

A13: Upon presenting for appointments in any clinical area for care, Staff will request all owners/handlers to present the approved documentation from PMO identifying the animal as a Service Dog. Unless a life, limb or eyesight threatening condition exists they will be asked to properly secure the animal outside of the facility before they will be seen. If the animal is not a Service Dog in keeping with this policy, the animal will NOT be allowed to stay in the clinical area. It is not the responsibility of the staff to provide care or maintenance for the animal. This includes, but is not limited to, walking any animals who are in cars, feeding them, providing boarding or transporting them to avoid liability. This applies to all Madigan employees as well.

Q14. Will my Service Dog be permitted to accompany me anywhere in the hospital?

A14: Service Dogs may accompany their owners/handlers around the hospital and outlying clinics, except for Restricted Areas including, but not limited to:

  • Anywhere where food is prepared and/or stored
  • Any medication storage/preparation area
  • Clean/sterile supply storage areas
  • Intensive Care areas
  • Operating rooms, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), Pre-Op areas
  • Labor & Delivery rooms
  • Procedure rooms
  • Any patient’s room, if his/her condition contraindicates the presence of animals (e.g. if the patient has sites of invasive devices, open or bandaged wounds, surgical incisions or other breaches in the skin, or where there is medical equipment that could be damaged by the animal)
  • Areas where there is proximity to any patient who is immunocompromised; has asthma or allergies (particularly to animal saliva, dander or urine); fears or phobias of animals
  • Areas where there is proximity to patients who have declined to participate in animal programs or where there are children whose parents have declined to allow the children to participate in animal programs
  • Isolation rooms (contact, airborne, droplet)
  • Any other areas restricted by MAMC/WTB/CALMED


Q15. Where do I get my Service Dog registered at Madigan?

A15: All Service Dogs and Service Dog Owners/Handlers will register with the Madigan Provost Marshal Office (PMO) or the Patient Administration Division (PAD) at CALMED.

Q16. What do I need to get my Service Dog registered at Madigan?

A16: Required documentation include:

  • Current vaccination record
  • Documentation verifying the Service Dog came from an ADI-accredited organization or a letter from a medical physician stating that the individual has a disability which requires the use of a Service Dog and the task the service dog performs. Letters identifying the use of psychological, comfort, therapy and/or emotional support animals are not acceptable verification.
  • Verification of liability insurance on the Service Dog

Q17. What will happen if my Service Dog is not registered?

A17: For any animal found on Madigan property without the proper documentation and badging, the owner/handler will be asked to leave and remove the animal, and the owner/handler will be reported to the commander. The Madigan command may deny access of the Service Dog in the future on a case-by-case basis.

Q18. What if I do not have liability insurance for my Service Dog?

A18: All Service Dogs are required to have liability insurance in order to be badged at Madigan. Service Dogs without liability insurance will be asked to leave the campus. If Service Members persist in bringing uninsured Service Dogs to Madigan, or any of the facilities that fall under Madigan's command purview, they may be subject to disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Q19. After registering my Service Dog, do I still need to carry the required documentation with me when I come to Madigan?

A19: No. Once your Service Dog has been properly registered and badged with Madigan PMO, you are only required display the badge on your Service Dog; you do not need to carry other documentation with you when you come to Madigan.

Patients and staff may review the full Madigan Service Dog Policy 190-09 here.

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