Policy 109

University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Emotional Support Animal
Policy #109


RM – Risk Management
HR – Human Resources
FIN – Finance

This policy assures compliance with the Fair Housing Act (FH Act, 42 U.S.C.A. s. 3601 et seq.), which permits Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in a university dwelling. An ESA requires pre-approval by a campus authority. The policy also outlines the permissibility of allowing invited therapy animals on campus.

Responsible Department:
Student Accessibility Services / Housing & Residence Life

The following campus entities have authority to verify disability status and determine reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities:

Student Accessibility Services for students and prospective students;


Emotional Support Animal (ESA): An ESA is an animal that:

  1. is prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health provider; and
  2. is necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University Housing.

An ESA, also referred to as an “assistance” animal, is not a pet according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); however, no special training is required for an animal to be considered an ESA. What is necessary is that the person with an  ESA has a disability and the ESA mitigates the impact of the disability.

Therapy Animal: Therapy animals provide affection and comfort to the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, retirement homes, schools, or disaster sites.  These pets have a temperament suitable for interacting with members of the public and enjoying doing so.  A therapy animal, including a therapy animal-in-training, has no special legal rights of access, and are only permitted in facilities where they are welcome and invited.  While the handler may be a person with a disability, the therapy animal does not provide a disability-related service to the handler as its primary activity is interacting with and being attentive to the public, not the handler.

Policy Statement:
It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside that Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are generally permitted in University Housing as described below. 

Requests to bring therapy animals to campus as a program/event must be approved by Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Safety and Risk Management prior to an invitation being extended.


  1. UW-Parkside provides reasonable accommodations for persons requesting an ESA in University Housing. The determination of whether an ESA will be permitted in University Housing is made on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process involving the individual requesting the accommodation and relevant campus personnel. In all cases, the needs of the individual are balanced with the impact of an animal on other campus residents, patrons, or programs.
  2. For an ESA to be considered a reasonable accommodation in University Housing, there must be current verification of need from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional provided to Student Accessibility Services that:
    1. verifies that the person has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
    2. describes the needed accommodation, and
    3. identifies the relationship between the person’s disability and the need for an assistance animal.
  3. All requests for ESA in University Housing are subject to an annual review.


  1. Students requesting ESAs in University Housing begin by registering for services through Student Accessibility Services intake process and include a request for the ESA via the Public Accommodation Request form.  The form and additional documentation requirements can be found on the Student Accessibility Services website.
  2. Students requesting an ESA to live in University Housing should notify Student Accessibility Services at least 60 days prior to the desired move-in date for University Housing to best accommodate the student and the animal and secure permission by the roommate. If the roommate does not agree to the ESA in the room, efforts will be made to find a roommate who will agree.
  3. If all other criteria are met to establish the individual with a disability, as set forth by staff in Student Accessibility Services, a meeting will be arranged between the student and University Housing to discuss how to best accommodate the student, the Emotional Support Animal, and the campus community.


  1. ESAs are only allowed within a person’s dwelling in University Housing, or other areas on campus where domesticated animals are permitted (for example, outside for walk if a dog).
  2. ESAs may be excluded from all campus areas including University Housing:
    1. where its presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity.
    2. if the animal is disruptive.
    3. if its presence would result in substantial physical damage to the property of others; or
    4. if it substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the area by others.

Requirements for Emotional Support Animals
All UW-Parkside University Housing residents that are provided an ESA accommodation must comply with all state laws and local animal ordinances, as well as all University Housing policies and guidelines including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Residents must provide appropriate food, water, and cage for ESA;
  2. Residents must not allow ESA to be neglected nor abused.
  3. Residents are solely responsible for cleaning up and disposing of all animal waste (both indoors and outdoors) in a timely, effective fashion.
  4. Residents must not leave ESA alone in a room or apartment for an extended period, not to exceed four hours. If an ESA is left alone in a room or apartment for an extended period of time and is not being properly cared for, University Housing will attempt to contact the resident or the emergency contact to remove the animal; If this is not successful, University Housing may notify Kenosha or Racine Animal Services and seek to have the animal removed. All costs associated with removing the animal shall be the responsibility of the resident.
  5. Residents must comply with all required state and municipal license requirements, including current identification and vaccination tags when applicable; ESA dogs must wear a current rabies vaccination tag; Residents must provide requested verification of all veterinarian recommended vaccinations as well as proof of absence of communicable diseases, fleas and parasites (annually or as needed, thereafter);
  6. Residents must not allow ESA to disturb, annoy, or cause any nuisance to other members of the campus community;
  7. ESA are not permitted in any public, common spaces within the residence halls/apartments, including community/shared bathrooms, lounges, dining rooms, indoor recreational rooms, computer labs and study rooms.
  8. Residents are responsible for any odors, noise, damage, or other conduct of his or her ESA that disturbs others or damages the premises;
  9. Residents must be in full control of the ESA at all times;
  10. Residents are solely responsible for the care and supervision of the ESA; University Housing assumes no responsibility for the care of a resident's ESA.
  11. Housing and Residence Life can accommodate animals commonly kept in households (i.e., a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal). For purposes of this assessment, reptiles (other than turtles), barnyard animals, monkeys, kangaroos, and other non-domesticated animals are not considered common).
  12. Tank sizes are limited to 30 gallons due to size of space in campus residences.

Conflicts over the use of Emotional Assistance Animals
The use of emotional assistance animals may negatively affect others with allergies, respiratory impairments and other relevant disabling conditions. Conflict resolution will be managed by Student Accessibility Services, Housing and Residence Life, and the Dean of Students. Evidence of disability and its impact may be required of those negatively affected by the use of the animals by these offices.

This policy is not applicable to University buildings beyond the University owned and operated apartments and residence halls. This policy is not applicable to classrooms. Emotional Assistance Animals are not allowed in classrooms or other university buildings (non-residence buildings).

Campus Visitors
ESAs accompanying campus visitors are only allowed in areas of campus where domesticated animals are permitted.

Appeals and Grievances
Any student dissatisfied with a decision concerning an emotional support animal or other service animal may contact the Dean of Students Office. The student will be asked to submit their appeal in writing. The complaint will be reviewed and recommendations will be made to Student Accessibility Services no later than 30 days from receipt of the complaint, unless extenuating circumstances warrant additional time.


*Revised: Fall 2022

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