Section 8. Service and Support Animals

The responsible administrator for this section is the Accessibility Services Office. The Office of Student Affairs has approval authority.

8.0. Introduction

Accessibility Services oversees student requests for assistance animals at the College. For information or clarification about requesting an assistance animal and submitting documentation for review, contact Accessibility Services at (413) 542-2337 or Documentation should be submitted to Accessibility Services no later than 14 days in advance of the deadlines and other procedures specified by the Office of Housing & Operations. Please carefully review all rules and requirements that apply to the use of assistance animals on college property. Alleged violations of this Section are resolved through the College’s Conflict Resolution Processes (see Chapter II, Conflict Resolution Processes). Accessibility Services and Community Standards may enforce emergency or interim measures related to assistance animals (see Section 8.9, Removal of Animal).

8.1. Definitions

Assistance Animal: Either a service animal or support animal as defined below.

Service Animal: Any dog  that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. 

Support Animal: Animals that provide emotional support or comfort that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.  Unlike a service animal, a support animal does not require training. Support animals include domesticated animals traditionally kept in the home, such as a dog, cat, small bird, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, or turtle. Reptiles (other than turtles), barnyard animals, monkeys, kangaroos, and other non-domesticated animals are not considered common household animals.

Pet: an animal kept for ordinary benefit and companionship

8.2. Domain/Housekeeping

8.2.1. All support animals must be spayed/neutered if species-appropriate. Mating pairs of animals may not be kept.

8.2.2. All animals must be housebroken if species-appropriate. For species that cannot be housebroken, the animal will not have free (uncaged/uncrated) access to the residence hall bedroom or other spaces.

8.2.3. Food for the animal must be properly stored in clean, impenetrable, sealed containers (such as plastic containers with locking lids), not to exceed five gallons. Bags, cardboard or fiberboard containers are not permitted for bug, rodent, and other housekeeping related reasons. Costs associated with remediation of any infestation of the housing with insects, rodents, or mold as a result of improper food storage may be charged to the owner’s account.

8.3. Residence Hall Responsibilities and Acknowledgements 

8.3.1. All animals must be caged/crated when not being held or handled by the owner, or when the owner is not present in the residence hall room with the animal. This is for the safety of the animal as well as others, particularly in the event of a building emergency.

8.3.2. Support animals may only be in the owner’s assigned residence hall room. Support animals are not allowed in any other portion of the residence hall, including common spaces or other student's rooms. 

8.3.3. Service animals are permitted to accompany the individual with a disability in all public areas on campus. Under limited circumstances a service animal may be excluded from a certain area where the animal’s presence may cause a fundamental alteration to the nature of the service or program provided in the area. 

8.3.4.  If a roommate or suitemate objects to the animal’s presence for reasons other than medical (medical objections are resolved per Conflicting Disabilities Section 8.3.5.), Community Living will work to resolve the conflict, which may require one or more students, including the Owner, to be relocated. Note: If a person with the animal was assigned housing prior to a person with a concern, the person with the animal may not be reassigned.

8.3.5. Conflicting Disabilities: Students with medical condition(s) that have a health or safety-related concern about exposure to an animal  in the residence hall should immediately contact Community Living. Documentation of a medical condition will be required via Accessibility Services. Community Living and Accessibility Services will work to resolve a conflict, considering the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all persons involved. 

8.4. Owner Control

8.4.1. All animals must be under the control of its owner at all times. A support animal that is outside of the owner’s residence hall room must have a harness, leash, or other tether, at all times.

8.4.2. No animal may be left in an owner’s room unattended for more than 6 hours at a time; stricter rules may apply to some species. Owners are required to sleep in the room with the animal each night. All animals must be removed from the College premises during any recess/break period where the owner has not been given permission to remain in campus housing. 

8.4.3. The owner is required to notify any persons (staff, other students, etc.) entering your room, of the presence of the animal.

8.5. Animal Behavior

The animal must be well-behaved at all times, whether in your residence hall room or anywhere else sanctioned on campus, and cannot pose a risk to the health or safety of others.

8.6. Vaccinations/Health

8.6.1. All animals must be current on species appropriate vaccinations required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Town of Amherst. It is the owner’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. A copy of the vaccinations must be submitted to Accessibility Services prior to the animal coming to campus. It is the owner’s ongoing responsibility to make sure the vaccinations have not lapsed, and to provide updated paperwork to Accessibility Services prior to bringing the support animal to campus and prior to taking residency in a new housing assignment.

8.6.2. If required by local or state law for the species of animal, the animal must wear a rabies vaccination tag.

8.6.3. Measures should be taken at all times to maintain flea, tick, and odor control. All animals must be bathed and groomed regularly. The owner is responsible for making all reasonable efforts to remove animal fibers that have been shed (hair, fur, nails, scales, feathers, etc.).

8.7. Waste Removal

8.7.1. The owner is responsible for cleaning up after the animal’s waste, and should always carry sufficient and appropriate equipment to clean up after the animal. Waste must be properly bagged and discarded.

8.7.2. It is the responsibility of the owner to pick up all animal waste, including feces, vomit, and diarrhea.

8.7.3. Waste must be placed in a plastic bag or other suitable container that is sealed or tied closed. After proper packaging, the waste must be placed into a dumpster outside of the building.

8.7.4. The animal waste must not be disposed of inside the building, or in proximity to an entrance/exit door.

8.7.5. It is the owner’s responsibility to reasonably remove any animal fibers that have been shed. Owners must recognize the fibers could be shed directly from the animal, or inadvertently transferred by the owner. For example, it is understandable the animal fibers will cling to the owner’s clothing and could be transferred to other people, furniture or to laundry washers or dryers.

8.8. Financial and Other Obligations

8.8.1. An owner who has an animal in their residence hall room is financially responsible for property damage caused by the owner’s animal, including but not limited to, cost of repairs, replacement or cleaning of facilities or furnishings, and any bodily injury or personal injury caused to other persons by the animal. The cost of repairing damages caused by the animal may be charged to the owner’s account.

8.8.2. If Amherst College is required to assume responsibility for the animal due to the illness or incapacitation of its owner, emergency evacuation, or because the owner abandons the animal, all costs incurred by Amherst College will be charged to the owner’s account.

8.8.3. The owner is required to submit a rehoming plan to Accessibility Services for the animal, in the event its owner can no longer take care of it.

8.8.4. In the event that an animal must be removed from campus, the owner will be responsible for all expenses associated with the removal. 

8.8.5. By bringing an animal to campus, the owner understands and agrees that the owner is solely responsible for the wellbeing and actions of the owner’s animal, and the owner further agrees that neither the Trustees of Amherst College nor any of its employees are responsible for any loss, damage, injury, or death caused by the owner’s animal or sustained by the owner’s animal, even if such loss, damage, injury, or death is partly caused by the College or its employees.

8.9. Removal of Animal

There are several reasons why it may be necessary to remove an animal from campus. It is the responsibility of the owner to remove the animal from campus. Failure to remove the animal promptly may result in other disciplinary action under Section 12.  Examples include, but are not limited to:

8.9.1. The animal is out of control, displays vicious behavior

8.9.2. The animal is disruptive (unreasonable noise, running around, nipping, biting, scratching, etc.)

8.9.3. The animal is not housebroken

8.9.4. The owner is not properly disposing of waste, bedding, fibers, or litter

8.9.5. The animal is insufficiently cleaned or groomed (offensive odor, fleas, ticks, etc.)

8.9.6. The animal is not appropriately restrained

8.9.7. The animal is not appropriately vaccinated or up to date on vaccinations

8.9.8. The animal is being mistreated or abused