Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals in Beloit College Student Housing
Beloit College is committed to creating and sustaining a successful community of inclusive excellence as we prepare students to live, learn, and work among people who experience the world in fundamentally different ways. Within this framework, the College is committed to providing a supportive environment for students with disabilities as well as to complying with all applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act.
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) a person with an appropriately documented disability may keep an emotional support animal in the individual’s dwelling when there is an established need for the therapeutic nature of the animal that is connected to the individual’s disability.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) provides emotional support to persons with a diagnosed disability who have a disability-related need for such support. The ESA is indicated as necessary for an individual with a disability by an appropriate and relevant healthcare professional. [Please Note: Any website claiming to “register” or “certify” your animal to be an Emotional Support Animal or Service Animal (especially if they charge a fee) is a scam with no legal bearing and is never a substitute for following the policy and procedure to have an ESA at Beloit College or anywhere else. Use the college’s forms, completed by the appropriate indicated professionals only. For credible information about assistance animals as reasonable accommodations, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website.
An ESA may be a reasonable accommodation for a student with a diagnosed disability within the student’s privately assigned living space. Students may qualify for this accommodation if (1) the student has a documented disability; (2) the animal is necessary to afford the student with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling; and (3) there is an identifiable and documented nexus between the disability and the assistance that the animal provides. The College will allow only those ESAs that are allowed by local and state laws and conform to standards within this policy.
Students must receive Emotional Support Animal designation from the Director of Learning Enrichment and Disability Services (hereto referred to as “Director”) prior to bringing their animal to campus. Therefore, students are to follow the deadlines indicated for all housing accommodations requests found in the general Housing and Food Service Accommodation policy (https://bit.ly/3tWhSyl). To make determinations, the Director will review documentation and communicate/consult with the appropriate members of the college community. Like all accommodations, the determination of whether or not an ESA will be permitted is made on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process between the student and the Director.
Once approved, the Director will notify the Residence Life Office and the student. A Residential Life staff member will then contact the student for additional details and, along with the student’s other residential life preferences or needs, determine a housing option for the student. Students should note that housing options may be limited as the College balances appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities with students who have allergies and/or animal fears. Consequently, advance notice as noted in the Housing and Food Service Accommodations policy ((https://bit.ly/3tWhSyl)of the need for an animal is essential to the College providing a smooth transition for the student and the rest of the community where the student will reside.
Requirements for Emotional Support Animals
The care and supervision of the ESA is solely the responsibility of the student owner. The student must be in full control of the ESA at all times. ESAs may not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of persons on the college campus, cause physical damage to property, or fundamentally alter the nature of the College operations.
An ESA can be a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, fish, turtle or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home. A dog must be at least 9 months of age to live on campus to assure that the dog is reliably housebroken, not disruptive to other residents, and has all of the shots required by state and local ordinance as necessary to make it safe to be around humans. Other types of ESAs must be similarly capable of, and trained for toileting without disruption or damage to property and must have necessary vaccinations as required by state and local ordinance. We typically do not allow animals known to carry the risk of zoonotic disease and cannot be adequately controlled to be in residence.
The ESA must be maintained (kept clean, free from fleas or ticks, etc.) and may not create safety hazards for other people. Local and state ordinances and laws regarding animals apply, including requirements for immunizations, licensing, noise, restraint, at-large animals and dangerous animals. Note that the City of Beloit requires a city license (https://bit.ly/3rfkZiV) for all dogs residing within the city limits; this includes College property.
An animal’s behavior, noise, odor and waste must not exceed reasonable standards for a well-behaved animal. These factors should not create unreasonable disruptions for other residents. If the noise (whining, barking or meowing) is excessive as judged by residence life staff, it is grounds to remove the ESA from campus. ESA’s may also be excluded from the college campus if the animal behaves in an unacceptable way and or the student does not control the ESA. Uncontrolled barking, jumping on other people, or running away from the handler are some examples of unacceptable behavior for an ESA. Any suspected or observed issues related to animal abuse or neglect will be reported to the proper investigatory authorities and may subject the student to college disciplinary action as well.
The student is responsible for immediately cleaning up and properly disposing of the ESA’s waste and is responsible for having the equipment to do so. People who are physically unable to accomplish this task are responsible for arranging for it to be done and any costs that it incurs. The College retains the right to designate a particular area for the ESA to relieve itself and/or for the disposal of its waste.
ESAs are limited to the privately assigned living space (room) of the student except when exiting or entering the student’s residential building. It may not be allowed into bathrooms, laundry facilities, indoor recreational rooms, lounges, hallways, computer labs, study rooms, or other areas of the residence hall. It also cannot be taken into classrooms or other buildings on campus or allowed to roam freely on campus grounds.
ESA’s must have enough space within the privately assigned living space to be appropriate to the size of that animal. ESAs are to be confined (i.e. cage, tank) when the owner is not present in the room. Owners are not to leave their ESA unattended overnight.
Roommates, neighbors, security, physical plant, grounds crew, housekeepers, on-call staff, and residential life staff may all be notified of the presence of the approved ESA in a particular space.
The student, not the College, is responsible for the actions of the ESA including, but not limited to, any bodily injury, property damage or additional cleaning. The student is expected to pay any costs incurred for repair or cleaning. In addition, the College retains the right to remove the ESA, at the owner’s expense, should the animal become a direct threat to the health and safety of others or violates these requirements in any way. The owner must provide the name and contact information of an off-campus person who is willing and able to take the animal in the event of an emergency.
The student must sign an Emotional Support Animal Agreement prior to bringing the ESA to campus.
Please fill out the form below and return it to the Director of Learning Enrichment and Disability Services.