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

The Accessibility Services Office oversees student requests for service and support animals at the College. For additional information or clarification on the following items, contact the office at (413) 542-2337 or These rules are applicable to all species of animals. Please apply all rules, as may be appropriate, to your animal. Alleged violations of this Section are resolved through the College’s Conflict Resolution Processes (see Chapter II, Conflict Resolution Processes). The Accessibility Services Office and Community Standards may enforce emergency or interim measures related to service or support animals (see Section 8.8, Removal of Animal).

8.1. Definitions

Service Animal: any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

Support Animal: a category of animals that may work, provide assistance or perform physical tasks, for an individual with a disability and/or provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered service animals under the ADA. Some support animals are professionally trained, but in other cases support animals provide the necessary support to individuals with disabilities without any formal training or certification.

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. If the animal is not or cannot be housebroken, the animal will not have free (uncaged/uncrated) access to the residence hall bedroom or other spaces. 

8.2.3. 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.

8.2.4. 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. 

In the event another resident in the owner’s residence hall has a conflict with the presence of the animal which cannot be resolved agreeably, the Accessibility Services Office and the Office of Residential Life will collaborate to determine a solution. Note: If a person with the animal was assigned housing prior to a person with a concern/medical issue, the person with the animal may not be reassigned. 

8.2.5. Support animals may only be in the owner’s assigned room. Support animals are not allowed in any other portion of the residence hall, including common spaces or other student's rooms. Support animals are not allowed in other buildings (e.g., classrooms, dining halls, etc.) without prior permission from the Accessibility Services Office.

8.3. Owner Control

8.3.1. 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. 

8.3.2. 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. Owners may not bring the support animal with them to any temporary housing, if the owner is remaining on campus over the recess/ break, without prior approval from Accessibility Services staff. If permission is declined, the owner is responsible to make other accommodations for the animal at the expense of the owner.

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

8.4. 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.

8.5. Vaccinations/Health 

8.5.1. 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.

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

8.5.3. 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.).

8.6. Waste Removal 

8.6.1. 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. 

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

8.6.3. 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.

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

8.6.5. 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.

8.7. Financial and Other Obligations 

8.7.1. 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. 

8.7.2. 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. 

8.7.3. 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.

8.7.4. In the event that an animal must be removed from campus, the owner will be responsible for all expenses associated with the removal. The owner may request alternate reasonable accommodations from Amherst College. 

8.7.5. 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.

8.8. 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: 

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

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

8.8.3. The animal is not housebroken 

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

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

8.8.6. The animal is not appropriately restrained

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

8.8.8. The animal is being mistreated or abused