Are ESAs Allowed on College Campus?

Are ESAs Allowed on College Campus?

Emotional support Animals also referred to as comfort animals, are pets that provide support and comfort to those individuals experiencing mental and emotional disabilities by giving them full-time companionship and unconditional love. Emotional Support animals do not fall into the same category as service animals and are thus not mandated to carry out certain tasks that will assist a disabled person. They offer unconditional support and emotional comfort, and owners of ESAs should show that managing their specific disability is substantially easier by having a pet around.

An increasing number of Americans are equating animals with happiness, whether they are at home, at work, or in the stressful environment that is the modern academy. More and more students believe that having an emotional support animal around helps them cope with their daily struggles better, and improves their overall mental health. And those diagnosed with mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks are stressing their right to keep ESAs in college campuses and university residences, for instance, US Berkeley.

Even though psychotherapy or counseling may be essential to deal with the real and growing needs, pets in the form of emotional support animals can be a valuable source for restoring the emotional balance of troubled students.

So, Are Dogs Allowed In College Campuses?

The Americans with Disabilities Act only covers individuals with mental disabilities and allows dogs, and in some instances, miniature horses. The animal is also required to be trained and well-behaved so they can stay out of trouble and not create problems for others.  

dog at campusYou can expect more colleges and universities will allow emotional support animals into their dorms and housing, as they realize the therapeutic benefits of ESAs. However, the housing board of the college must first allow the presence of emotional support animals for people with mental or emotional disabilities. Even though a lot of schools have relaxed their rules regarding pet ban in the last couple of years, many other academic institutions remain adamant about not allowing students to bring ESAs on campus.

Disability is a blanket term that defines a physical or mental impairment that impacts a person’s quality of life. As per the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the rules about ESA accommodation are relevant to a variety of both public and private housing, which includes colleges and universities.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development notice to allows ESAs in student housing was issued a week after a state judge made a ruling that the FHA covers all types of student housing. Earlier, the HUD had filed litigation against the University of Nebraska on behalf of Brittany Hamilton, a student. Britany had asked the university to let her keep her dog in the apartment because it helped her cope with anxiety and depression.

sleeping dogIt is important to bear in mind that housing providers can decline to accommodate any emotional support animal if they that it directly threaten the health and safety of other residents or if the pet is destructive to the property. However, these refusals need to be backed up by a proper reason and evidence regarding the animal’s conduct, size, breed or weight. Exclusion of emotional support animals cannot be made simply by speculation or mere fear on behalf of the accommodators.