Emotional Support Animal Policy And Procedure

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Central College Emotional Support Animal (ESA):  Policy and Procedure


An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal selected to play an integral part of a person’s on-going treatment process must be prescribed to an individual with a disability by a physician or mental health professional.  


Central College recognizes the importance of an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in a student’s on-going mental health treatment.  As such, a student may request an exception to the College’s Pet Policy utilizing the following procedure and with the following conditions/understandings. 

Background Information:

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are covered within the Federal Fair Housing Act and through the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

According to the Federal Fair Housing Act, anyone requesting an ESA must have an identified disability as determined by a physical or mental health professional. The animal must be necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing. There must be an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

HUD – In order to qualify for an accommodation for an ESA animal, the assistance animal must be necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or to participate in the housing service or program.  Further, there must be a relationship between the individual’s disability and assistance the animal provides.



The following procedure will be used in responding to students’ request for an Emotional Support Animal and an exception to Central’s Pet Policy:

  1. Have a documented disability on file with Disability Services located in the Student Support Services office in Maytag Student Center.  Please talk with the Director of Student Support Services to discuss the required documentation for the disability.
  2. Meet with the Assistant Dean of Students (Residence Life) to discuss the process and needed documentation.
  3. Complete the following required documentation and return to Disability Services.

          a.   Written letter (email) of request for exception to Central’s Pet Policy.

          b.   Letter from a physician and/or mental health professional that addresses:

                i.     that an identified disability exists.

                         ii.     the need for an ESA.

                        iii.     the connection between the disability and assistance the ESA provides.

                   c.      Central College’s ESA agreement, signed.

                   d.      Updated vaccination report from ESA’s veterinarian.

                   e.      Proof of liability insurance ($300,000 minimum).

Once the request form and necessary documentation have been received by Disability Services, the ESA committee will review the request and documentation to confirm both the necessity of the ESA and the appropriate accommodation with regard to campus housing. If the animal is on campus before it is approved, the student will need to pay a $30/daily fee or take animal home. The student will be notified of the decision of the ESA committee and, if approved, the reasonable accommodation will be discussed with the student including a discussion of on-going care and conditions for the continued exception.

Guidelines and Requirements:

The student is responsible for ensuring all veterinarian recommended vaccinations are completed and documented.  Central College requires both proof of vaccination at the time of request and reserves the right to request an updated verification at any time during the animal’s residency.

An exception to the animal and pet policy is granted for approved animals provided that they are well cared for, that their behavior, noise, odor and waste do not exceed reasonable standards for a well-behaved animal, and that these factors do not create unreasonable disruptions for other residents. If the noise (crying, barking or meowing, especially when student is not around) is excessive, as determined by Residence Life staff, it is grounds to review and/or terminate the ESA exception.

The animal must be contained within the student’s room at all times, except when transported outside the student’s residential area to leave the building.  It may not be taken into lounges, bathrooms, other student rooms, laundry facilities, or other areas of the residence hall.  It also cannot be taken into classrooms or other buildings on campus. If resident/owner is going to be gone for an extended amount of time, another student may be appointed to care for animal in owner’s room.

Staff may enter the room, as stated in below policy, for inspection or out of concern.

Excerpt from student online policies:

Room Condition

A review of the condition of residence rooms occurs at the beginning of fall semester by both a residence life staff member and the resident(s).  A room inspection will, also, occur by residence life staff at either the termination of the resident’s agreement or the end of each semester, whichever is earlier.  Common living areas in residence units and non-individually owned contents of the area, such as lounges, stairwells and kitchenettes, are not subject to the following procedures as they are not considered the private living area of the resident(s) as they are open to all members of the community.

 A room evaluation will determine the condition of the living environment in light of health, safety and/or living rule expectations, and/or damage to college property.


Beginning of fall semester: Central College staff members enter each room prior to residence hall opening for first-year students to visually inspect the room.  Upon arrival, each resident is required to complete a room condition report form to establish the agreed upon conditions of the room prior to occupancy.  Accurate and thorough completion of the room condition report form is strongly encouraged as it is used upon the resident’s check-out to compare the condition of the room for assessment of damages.

 End of semester:  Central College staff members enter each room at the end of each semester to do a visual survey of the room, closet, and bath under the following guidelines.

Reminder notices of intent to enter resident rooms will be posted at least one week before the end of each semester.

 Residents’ personal possessions are not moved or examined unless there is a visible violation of college policy.  If any resident possessions are removed from the room due to policy/safety violation, the resident will be notified.

When possible, two staff members participate in the inspection.

College personnel inspecting the room will follow the general procedure outlined above.

Additional Guidelines and Contractual Agreement for Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

Once a student has been determined to qualify to have an ESA by Disability Services, the following additional requirements must be met:

  1. Central College reserves the right to request an updated verification of vaccinations or the ESA’s living conditions at any time during the animal’s residency.
  2. The student is responsible for properly containing and regularly disposing of all animal waste in appropriate outside trash dumpsters.  Litter boxes should be placed on student-provided mats on tiled or vinyl floors so that feces and urine are not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.  Dog feces must be immediately picked up and disposed in the outside dumpster.
  3. The student residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests as needed. The Residence Life staff will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a college-approved pest control service. The student will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment.  If the problem reoccurs, the student’s agreement to have an ESA may be terminated.
  4. Sensitivity to residents with allergies and to those who fear animals is important to ensure the peace of the residential community.  Therefore, the student is responsible for ensuring that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.
  5. The student is financially responsible for the actions of the animal, involving bodily injury or property damage.  This includes, but is not limited to any replacement of furniture, carpet, window or wall covering as well as cleaning costs considered above the normal cleaning provided for rooms.
  6. The student is required to document that they have liability insurance covering the ESA for a minimum of $300,000.
  7. The student must notify Residence Life and Disability Services in writing if the animal is no longer needed as an Emotional Support Animal or is no longer in residence. To replace one animal with a different animal, the student must file a new request.
  8. The student agrees to continue to abide by all other residential policies. An exception to the policy that otherwise would prohibit having an animal does not constitute an exception to any other policy.
  9. Should the animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the student is expected to fulfill her/his housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
  10. Residence Life has the authority to relocate a student and the support animal as necessary per current contractual agreements.

Any violation of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from Central College.   If this occurs, the student has a right to appeal the decision through the ESA committee.