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Guidelines for Emotional Support Animals

Emotional Support Animals

The University is committed to providing an accommodation to students who need the presence of an emotional support animal. Listed here are the guidelines for keeping an emotional support animal on campus. The ESA and service animal form can be found here.

ESA Guidelines

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. The University has the right to require documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include a vaccination certificate. The University reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed. The Owner must also provide documentation of an annual clean bill of health for the animal from a licensed veterinarian.

Emotional Support Animals in residential spaces will be limited due to the size of the space and the nature of the residential environment. ESAs must be non-aggressive animals and be limited in size and weight (under 25 lbs.). 

The Owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner.

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 ESA and/or discipline for the responsible individual. 

The animal must be removed if it poses a threat to the safety or health of the Owner or another individual, is a repeated nuisance, is not housebroken, is found in an unauthorized building, or otherwise fails to comply with these guidelines. After a first warning or if severe on the first occasion, the Owner must remove an animal that shows aggression (i.e., biting, attacking).

An individual with a disability may be charged for any damage caused by his or her ESA 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. 

The Owner must fully cooperate with University personnel with regard to meeting the terms of this Policy 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.). 

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. 

ESAs 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.

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. All ESAs must also be crated or caged in their Owner’s dorm room whenever the Owner is not present in the room. 

The Owner will provide an emergency contact to the Office of Student Affairs. The Owner identifies this individual as someone local who can care for the animal in case of emergency. Without this information, the University will board the animal at the Owner’s expense. 

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. 

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 this Policy and the Reasonable Accommodation Policy when requesting a different animal. 

UD staff shall not be required to provide care or food for any ESA 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. 

The individual must provide written consent for the Office of Student Affairs to disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the ESA 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.