Accessibility Services at Aquinas College

Assistance Animal Policy

Aquinas College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities requiring a service animal or an assistance animal-also referred to as emotional support animal (ESA) or therapy animal.

Definition of Assistance Animal 
(Other labels include Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or Therapy Animal)

An assistance animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. While dogs are the most common type of assistance animal, other animals can also be assistance animals. Generally, assistance animals are limited to the student’s room/apartment.

Assistance Animal Requirements 

A person who has a service or assistance animal on campus (including college housing) is financially responsible for any property damage that may be caused by his or her animal.

Other requirements include:

  1. The animal must be over a year old. (No puppies or kittens are allowed)
  2. The animal must be in a crate when the owner is not in the room.
  3. The animal must have updated vaccinations, licenses, and identification in compliance with local and state laws. The animal must also comply with local leash laws.
  4. The animal must have a clean bill of health. 
  5. The animal is the responsibility of the student. The student may incur financial costs as a result of physical harm or damages.
  6. The animal cannot disturb or cause difficulty for other student residents. The student must be sensitive and accommodating to students with allergies or fears of the animal.
  7. The animal must be under the control of the owner and cannot be left overnight with another student. It must be taken with the student when the student is gone for an extended period of time. 
  8. The animal must be housebroken.
  9. The animal’s waste must be cleaned up immediately and appropriately cleaned and disposed of in the designated campus areas. 

Approval Process for Assistance Animal
A student resident requesting an assistance animal in Aquinas College Housing must meet with the Accessibility Services Office in advance, preferably a minimum of 30 days before housing is needed, and provide current documentation of a disability.

An assistance animal may be deemed a reasonable accommodation in campus housing if the student requesting the accommodation:

  1. Has a documented disability.
  2. Is prescribed an assistance animal by a healthcare or mental health professional as necessary to afford the student an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. This documentation must include the provider’s professional opinion regarding the relationship between the disability and the assistance that will be provided by the animal. Therapists prescribing an assistance animal/emotional support animal (ESA) should have extensive knowledge of the use of the ESA, and utilize the ESA as a treatment modality. Before receiving documentation for recommendation of an ESA, a student typically will be engaged in on-going therapy with a mental health provider and the ESA will be identified as an essential treatment for the student’s diagnosed disability.

The College reserves the right to request additional clarification or documentation. 

Once approved, the housing accommodation will be validated by an official accommodation letter from the Accessibility Services Office to the student requesting the accommodation, with a copy to the Director of Residence Life.  
The student is not permitted to bring an assistance animal on campus prior to approval and meeting with the Director of Residence Life. Requests to have an assistance animal in campus housing are considered requests for accommodation, and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Removal from campus may result if the animal:

  1. poses a threat to the health and safety of others.
  2. fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity.
  3. is unruly or exhibits disruptive behavior.