Emotional Support Animal Policy

Op5.05-8 Emotional Support Animal Policy

Missouri State University (university) provides on-campus university housing through its residence life, housing and dining services department (department). The department prohibits most pets in university housing per the department’s guide to living. However, the department, as a reasonable accommodation to a resident with a disability, will allow a service animal (defined herein) or an emotional support animal (defined herein) in the resident’s university housing pursuant to this emotional support animal policy and the service animal policy (Op5.05-7).

I. Definitions

For purposes of this policy the following words have the following meaning:

Emotional support animal (ESA): An animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptom(s) or effect(s) of an individual’s disability. However, the animal has not been specifically trained to do work or perform and does not perform work or tasks that would qualify it as a service animal.

Relief areas: Areas on campus suitable for the sanitary relief of emotional support animal’s or service animal’s urine and feces, including the nearest grassy areas outdoors or other area as directed by university personnel.

Service animal: Any dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. A miniature horse may classify as a service animal if the miniature horse has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability and the facilities can accommodate the miniature horse given the type, size, and weight of the miniature horse. See service animal policy (Op5.05-7).

Resident: An individual eligible for and assigned dwelling space in university housing.

University housing: A residence hall or university apartment maintained by the university.

II. Emotional support animals procedures

  1. University housing residents who seek an accommodation from the university’s pet policies due to a disability must contact the university’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) to request such an accommodation.

    Should the university approve the placement of an ESA as a reasonable accommodation, the resident agrees that such placement is subject to resident’s compliance with this policy and other applicable university policies.
  2. Missouri State University faculty and staff: ESAs are generally not considered to be reasonable accommodations in the workplace under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because ESAs do not perform specific tasks that assist a person with a disability. University faculty and staff with questions regarding the use of ESA in the workplace should contact the office of institutional equity and compliance (OIEC).

III. Obligations of emotional support animal owner

Residents granted the accommodation of an ESA in university housing are subject to the following obligations, in addition to any other university rule or regulation not specifically related to ESA. The resident owner of an ESA must:

  1. Keep the emotional support animal in the student’s assigned university housing room or apartment.

    An ESA must be contained within the resident’s assigned individual living accommodations except to the extent the resident is taking the ESA out of university housing to a relief area or off university property. ESAs are not permitted in any university facility other than the university housing room or apartment the resident is assigned including, but not limited to, administrative buildings, classrooms, university housing meeting rooms, dining areas, health centers, recreational facilities and laundry or other common areas.
  2. Keep the emotional support animal under control.

    The ESA must be properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the control of the resident owner at all times. Resident owners must be mindful of their ESAs interaction with other university housing occupants (e.g., excessive sniffing, jumping or other unwanted contact with other individuals). No resident owner may permit the ESA to roam loose or run at large on university property. If an ESA is found running at large, the ESA is subject to capture, confinement and removal from university housing or university property. The resident owner is responsible for ensuring that the ESA is contained, as appropriate, when the resident is not present.
  3. Comply with applicable law and policies regarding animal ownership.

    The resident must abide by current city, county and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to the licensing, vaccination, and other requirements of animal ownership applicable to the resident’s ESA. It is the resident’s responsibility to know and understand all applicable ordinances, laws, and regulations in addition to university policies applicable to their ESA. The university has the right to request documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws and/or regulations, which may include presentation of vaccination certificate(s), registration or licensing documentation.
  4. Take proper care of the emotional support animal.

    The resident is required to ensure the ESA is well cared for at all times. ESAs cannot be left overnight in university housing in the care of an individual other than the resident. If the resident will be absent from assigned university housing overnight or for an extended period, the ESA must accompany the resident. Evidence of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, extended absence or abandonment may result in the immediate removal of the ESA and other consequences to the resident. The resident owner is solely responsible for providing care and food for the ESA. University dining center policies prohibit the removal of food or food scraps from dining facilities for the purpose of feeding ESAs. University personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any ESA including, but not limited to, removing the ESA during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the ESA and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the ESA.
  5. Be responsible for property damages and damages or injuries to, or caused by, the ESA.

    The resident owner must take reasonable steps to avoid property damage caused by the ESA. The resident owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of all waste created by the ESA in a safe and sanitary manner. To the extent that the ESA can be housebroken, the ESA must use relief areas (as defined herein). The resident will be charged for any and all damages to university property caused by the ESA or additional cleaning of university property required due to the ESA (beyond reasonable wear and tear) to the same extent that other residents are charged for same cleaning activity not related to an ESA.
  6. Communicate with university personnel regarding the need for the emotional support animal.

    The ESA is allowed in university housing only as long as the ESA is necessary because of the resident’s disability. The student resident must notify the department if the ESA is no longer needed or is no longer occupying university housing with the resident. To replace a previously approved ESA, the resident must follow the same process used to receive the initial ESA from the DRC.

IV. Conflicting disabilities

If a university housing resident has a disabling condition that involves an allergic reaction to animals, the resident student should notify the DRC and department regarding a reasonable accommodation to university housing and ESA and/or service animals. Reasonable action will be taken to consider the needs of both university housing residents to resolve the conflict as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. Without an accommodation for a conflicting disability (e.g., animal allergens), university housing reassignment will be done according to standard department procedure.

V. Removal of emotional support animals

The department or other university personnel, (e.g., following adjudication through the office of student conduct), may remove an ESA from university housing if the ESA poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, causes substantial property damage to the property of others, including university property; or the resident fails to comply with the obligations set forth above. Student residents will be subject to the code of student rights and responsibilities (Code) regarding failure to comply with this policy.

VI. Grievance procedure

The OIEC is charged with investigating complaints of discrimination or harassment, including complaints regarding violations of this policy. Individuals who feel that they have been discriminated base on the university’s application of this policy may contact OICE:

Missouri State University
Park Central Office Building Suite 111
901 S. National Avenue
Springfield, MO 65897

Phone: 417-836-4252

Toll free: 877-967-8636

Fax: 417-836-3055

TTY: 417-836-3257

Email: equity@missouristate.edu

Student residents may also contact the department of education’s office for civil rights:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100

Customer service hotline: 800-421-3481

Facsimile: 202-453-6012

TDD: 877-521-2172

Email: OCR@ed.gov

Web: https://www.ed.gov/ocr

VII. Non-discrimination / non-retaliation provision

  1. University is a community of people with respect for diversity. The university emphasizes the dignity and equality common to all persons and adheres to a strict non-discrimination policy regarding the treatment of individual faculty, staff, and students. In accord with federal law and applicable Missouri statutes, the university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin (including ancestry, or any other subcategory of national origin recognized by applicable law), religion, sex (including marital status, family status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or any other subcategory of sex recognized by applicable law), age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other basis protected by applicable law in employment or in any program or activity offered or sponsored by the university. Sex discrimination encompasses sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, and is strictly prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  2. University will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in university housing, including a request for an ESA.
  3. If you are a student with a disability and anticipate barriers related to this policy, it is important to request accommodations. Please contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC), Meyer Library, Suite 111, 417-836-4192.