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Disability Services

Student Affairs

Animals on Campus

Below is a brief introduction to the types of animals permitted on campus and the requirements for approval.

Service Animals: Service animals are defined, by law, as dogs that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks must relate directly to disability, such as guiding a person who is visually impaired, or acting as a buffer for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. Protection, as in a guard dog, is not a task related to disability. Service dogs are permitted on campus, including classrooms, the library and dining facilities.

A service dog may or may not be wearing a vest. The vest does not make the dog a service dog. Vests are readily purchased online. Service dogs are not required to be registered through Disability Services for the animal to be permitted on campus. Service dogs must be under the control of their handler at all times. Disruptive or aggressive behavior is not acceptable and service dogs can be excluded on that basis. If you have any questions about a service animal or service animal qualifications, contact Disability Services.

Emotional Support Animals: Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are an accommodation provided under the Fair Housing Act, and therefore are only eligible to be in campus residence locations. ESAs must be approved by Disability Services and are only approved for emotional or psychiatric disabilities. Any student wishing to be approved to bring an animal to their dorm or campus apartment must request approval through Disability Services. In addition to disability documentation, students are required to provide veterinary records showing current vaccinations and, if a roommate is involved, a written statement from the roommate indicating agreement to having the ESA in the shared living space. If there is not an agreement, alternate living space will be discussed.

ESAs must remain in the housing unit except for toileting. ESAs are not permitted in the common areas of campus or in classrooms. Disruptive or aggressive behavior is not acceptable for ESAs and the animal can be excluded from campus housing on that basis. Students are accountable to the university for any damages resulting from an ESA’s presence.

Therapy Animals: Therapy animals are animals that provide comfort and affection to people in a facility setting. Therapy animals sometimes visit nursing homes or schools and are generally dogs, although other animals have been used as therapy animals. Therapy animals may visit campus for short periods of time and do not require registration or approval by Disability Services. The animals must not display disruptive or aggressive behavior and must be under the control of their handlers at all times.

All other animals that fall outside of these categories, including pets, are not permitted on campus. Policy information can be found here:

For additional information, or to clarify any of this information, please contact Disability Services at 423-439-8346, or come by our office in room 326 in the DP Culp University Center.

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