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Guidelines for Emotional Support Animals

Interim Guidelines for Service and Emotional Support Animals in Residential Housing

at the University of Dallas


These interim Guidelines are intended to support and augment the University of Dallas’s draft Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy. Students are obligated to follow the terms of the Policy in addition to these Guidelines. Please refer to the Policy for additional information and requirements, as well as definitions of the terms used in these Guidelines.

 Procedures for Requesting and Receiving Approval for an ESA in University Housing

  1. Approval for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) must be granted by both the ADA Committee and the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). Students making a request for an ESA must first complete an application for accommodations through the University Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator. The process of application and the documents necessary to complete a successful application can be found in the Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy and on the University Student Disability Services website. 
  1. An application for an ESA, as well as the supporting mental health documents required by the ADA Committee, should be submitted well in advance of the date the student would like to bring the animal into University housing to allow the Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator and ADA Committee time to process the request before the housing deadlines, see below. 
  1. After the ADA Committee has reviewed the application for an ESA, the Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator will alert the student and the OSA regarding the outcome of the application. The OSA will reach out to the student if he or she has been approved by the ADA Committee for an ESA. Note that final approval for a specific animal to reside in university housing must come through the OSA; therefore, an ESA is not allowed in housing until approval of the specific animal by OSA has been granted. 
  1. A student who has been approved for an ESA by the ADA Committee must provide OSA with the following documents:

           (A) Proof of appropriate vaccinations.

          (b) Proof of licensing if required by current city, county or state ordinances, laws and/or regulations. It is the Owner’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations.

          (c) An annual clean bill of health for the animal from a licensed veterinarian.

          (d) The university also reserves the right to require proof that animal is spayed or neutered at the appropriate age.

          (e) A signed copy of these Guidelines. 

  1. Approval of a specific animal in housing may be subject to several additional considerations (e.g., the age of the animal, the space needed to house the animal, the care and feeding requirements, the risk of infectious disease in the communal living setting, etc.).

Requests for approval for a specific animal to reside in housing as an ESA are generally only evaluated and approved by the OSA prior to each academic semester. Requests and all supporting documentation for the Fall semester must be submitted before July 1. Requests and all supporting documentation for the Spring semester must be submitted before December 1. The deadlines are intended to give the OSA the necessary time to evaluate the request and make the appropriate accommodation arrangements for the requesting student. If the paperwork is completed after the deadline, the University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs for that semester or term of occupancy, and those requests may be held over until the following term, if appropriate. 

  1. ESAs must be approved each academic year using the process and application deadlines described above. Students may be required to present new, updated documentation from the student’s mental health provider to the Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator. 

Procedures for Receiving Approval for a Service Animal in University Housing 

  1. To request a reasonable accommodation of a service animal in university housing, a student should notify the OSA directly. The student will be asked to comply with the requirements and deadlines stated in steps #4-7 in the Procedures for Requesting and Receiving Approval for an ESA, above. 

Responsibilities of Owner Regarding Animals in University Housing

  1. The Owner must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the Owner’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. Animals must be spayed or neutered at the appropriate age. The University has the right to require documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include a vaccination certificate. The Owner must also provide documentation of an annual clean bill of health for the animal from a licensed veterinarian. 
  1. The Owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner. The University may establish additional guidelines for proper disposal, including designated areas for waste. 
  1. The Owner is required to ensure the animal is well cared for at all times. Any evidence of mistreatment or abuse may result in immediate removal of the animal and/or discipline for the responsible individual. 
  1. An individual with a disability may be charged for any damage caused by his or her animal beyond reasonable wear and tear to the same extent that it charges other individuals for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear. The University strongly recommends that the Owner have appropriate liability insurance in the event of an animal bite, scratch, etc. Upon the Owner vacating the residence hall or removal of the animal, the condition of the room/suite shall be assessed for necessary cleaning and if there is damage that exceeds normal wear and tear, the Owner will be charged. The Owner's living accommodations may also be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests if necessary as part of the University’s standard or routine inspections. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a University-approved pest control service. The Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls. The University shall have the right to bill the Owner’s account for unmet obligations under this provision. 
  1. The Owner must fully cooperate with University personnel with regard to meeting the terms of these Guidelines and developing procedures for care of the animal (e.g., cleaning the animal, feeding/watering the animal, designating an outdoor relief area, disposing of feces, etc.). 
  1. The animal must respond to voice or hand commands at all times, and be in full control of the Owner. To the extent possible, the animal should be unobtrusive to other individuals in the living environment (e.g., excessive and prolonged barking) and should not show aggression (e.g., biting, attacking). 
  1. Animals may not be left overnight in University housing to be cared for by any individual other than the Owner. If the Owner is to be absent from his/her residence hall overnight or longer, the animal must accompany the Owner. 
  1. For the safety and public health of all residents, visitors and staff, all ESAs must be contained in their Owner’s dormitory room and not in common areas such as lounges or classroom, or in the private dorm room of other students. All ESAs must also be crated or caged in their Owner’s dorm room whenever the Owner is not present in the room. 
  1. The Owner agrees to abide by all equally applicable residential policies that are unrelated to the individual’s disability such as assuring that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for individuals who reside there. 
  1. The animal is allowed in University housing only as long as it is necessary because of the Owner’s disability. To replace an ESA, the new animal must be necessary because of the Owner’s disability and the Owner must follow the procedures in these Guidelines and the Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy when requesting a different animal. 
  1. UD staff shall not be required to provide care or food for any animal including, but not limited to, removing the animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the animal. 
  1. The student will provide an emergency contact to the OSA. The Owner identifies this individual as someone local who can care for the animal in case of emergency, and the University may ask for confirmation from the emergency contact regarding their willingness and ability to care for the animal. Without this information, the University will board the animal at the Owner’s expense. 

Removal of Animals from University Housing 

Permanent removal of a service or emotional support animal from housing will be done in consultation with the Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator and may be appealed to the Provost or the Provost’s designee. If such removal is necessary, and in non-emergency situations, the Owner will be given 48 hours’ notice to remove the animal voluntarily, after which time the University may remove the animal to the nearest appropriate animal shelter. In cases of emergency, the animal may be removed immediately. 

OSA may require the individual to remove the animal from University housing if: 

  1. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes substantial property damage to the property of others; 
  1. The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of a University program; or 
  1. The Owner does not comply with the Owner Responsibilities set forth above, including if the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the University community, the animal is disruptive to the living environment for others (e.g., barking or other loud noises, significant odor from cages or litter boxes, etc.), or the animal causes damage to University facilities. 

Disclosure of Information

By signing this document, the student agrees that OSA may disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the ESA or service animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, Residence Life personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include information related to the individual’s disability. 

Emergency Contact Information

Please provide local emergency contact information:


Phone #:


Full Address:



Signature of Owner:   ________________________________Date: _______________