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800.1 - Animals of Campus

University Group Policy #800.1

I.  Policy Statement

In consideration of the personal safety and well-being of the Winston-Salem State University campus community, and in accordance with applicable state and federal laws, this Policy applies to all WSSU Faculty, Staff and Students and establishes requirements for accessibility, behavior, and treatment of animals on campus. This Policy does not apply to animals on campus solely for the purpose of instructional use. Animals on campus for the sole purpose of instructional or research use must contact the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

II.    Guidelines

Service Animals

Animals used by disabled individuals as service animals are not pets and may be allowed on campus, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Rehab Act”), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), and state law.

Requirements for Service Animals

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities. As of March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals by the ADA titles II and III. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under ADA. Service dogs must be individually trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities, including, but not limited to, guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service dogs must wear a rabies tag. If an animal other than a dog is to be used as a service animal, the Director of Health and Safety, ADA Coordinator, or Student Services must approve the health requirements regarding that animal. If utilizing a miniature horse as a service animal, the Director of Health and Safety or Director of Student Services must approve the health requirements regarding the animal.

The care and supervision of a service animal is the responsibility of the person using the animal's services (hereinafter “owner”). Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents use of these devices. In that case, the individual with the disability must control the animal via voice, signal or other effective controls. The service animal will not be required to be harnessed, leashed, or tethered when in private areas assigned to the owner or private areas assigned to a third party if the third party consents to the animal being off the restraint. The owner must remain in control of the animal at all times. The owner must ensure that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated against diseases common to that type of animal as recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. For example, dogs should have routine maintenance for flea and tick prevention, de-worming, and have annual examinations.

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds. If a miniature horse has been trained to do the work or perform tasks for people with disabilities, this animal must:

  • Be housebroken;
  • Remain under the owner’s control;
  • Maintain a physique in which facilities are able to accommodate its size and weight;
  • Allow for the legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

The owner must be in full control of the animal at all times and is legally and financially responsible for the cost to repair any damage done by the service animal. Individuals who desire to have service or assistive animals on campus should contact the Department of Disability Services (“DDS”).

Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

When it is not obvious what service the animal provides, only limited inquiries are permitted. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog as service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog perform the work or task. DDS is responsible for ensuring service animals meet necessary requirements.

Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. A person with a disability will be asked to remove the service animal from an area on campus is the animal is out of control and the handler cannot take effective control of it, or the animal is not housebroken. Goods and services are available to the individual with disability once the service animal has been removed from the premises. The service animal must not be considered banned from the area, just temporarily denied access until such time as the issues have been resolved.

Conflicting Disabilities

If another person on campus has a covered disability under the ADA and it includes an allergic reaction to animals, and that person has contact with a service animal approved for presence on campus, a request for assistance will be made to the Department of Disability Services who will consider all facts surrounding the contact and make an effort to resolve the issue. After consideration of all facts surrounding the issue, every effort for a resolution will be made by this area.

Emotional Support/Comfort Animals

An animal that provides emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a resident's documented disability may be allowed to reside in the residence halls in accordance with this policy. An emotional support animal, which can include animals other than dogs, will be permitted as reasonable accommodation to a person registered with the DDS in order to have an opportunity to use and enjoy the residential experience. The assistance the animal provides must relate to the individual’s disability. The important consideration is whether or not the animal provides the benefit needed as a reasonable accommodation to the resident with the disability.

Requirements for Emotional Support/Comfort Animals:

A student requesting permission to have an emotional support animal in his or her on-campus housing must provide the DDS with appropriate documentation on or before the University Housing Application Deadline. The DDS requires such advance notice in order to gather, review, and verify the necessary documentation, which includes, but is not limited to: verification of a disability, the determination of any conflicting disabilities in the immediate vicinity where the animal will be housed, and verification of all vaccinations and the health of the animal including all the necessary licensing. If documentation is immediately available, the time for the approval process may be shortened. Documentation of the need for an emotional support animal should include a signed letter, on professional letterhead, from the person's physical or mental healthcare provider or licensed therapist. The provider or therapist should be familiar with the professional literature concerning the assistive and/or therapeutic benefits of Emotional Support Animals for people with disabilities. The Director of Disability Services will review documentation and make a determination. If a qualifying disability exists, the Director of Disability Services will coordinate services with the Office of Housing and Resident Life.

Areas Restricted to Service Animals

Comfort Animals may be considered for access to university housing, however, they are not permitted in other areas of the university (e.g. libraries, academic buildings, classrooms, labs, student center, etc.).

Therapy Animals

Animals trained for Animal Assisted Therapy ("AAT") may be brought into appropriate University health care or mental health facilities to work with its trained owners/handlers to provide service in conjunction with a University-approved program in one or more therapeutic settings.

Requirements for Therapy Animals

In order for the Therapy Animal to be present on campus, each owner/handler must:

  • Provide to the University documentation of the training for the Therapy Animal as demonstrated by attainment of the Canine Good Citizen ("CGC") title through the American Kennel Club ("AKC") or registration with a therapy dog organization.
  • Provide to the University documentation showing that the owner/handler has obtained and maintains liability insurance coverage protecting the University from claims arising out of the presence and utilization of the Therapy Animal and has obtained approval for the presence and use of the Therapy Animal from appropriate University officials.
  • Execute an Animal Assisted Therapy - Owner/Handler Agreement, waiving claims against the University with respect to any injuries (including death) sustained by the Therapy Animal during the time the Therapy Animal is on campus for working with its owner/handler to provide service in conjunction with a University-approved program in one or more therapeutic or educational settings.

In addition, each patient who reasonably may be expected to come into contact or proximity with a Therapy Animal is advised in advance that the Therapy Animal will be present and consents in writing to the presence and, if applicable, the use of the Therapy Animal in that patient's treatment. The consent agreement will include a waiver of claims against the University related to the patient's interaction with the Therapy Animal.

Areas Restricted to Therapy Animals

A Therapy Animal is not permitted in campus facilities other than the health care or mental health facilities in which the Therapy Animal will be utilized unless it is being utilized in an educational program designed to educate others about mental health issues and treatment if: (a) the owner/handler obtains the consent of the administrator responsible for the facility; (b) potential attendees are given at least five days advance notice that a Therapy Animal will be present in the facility; and (c) the Therapy Animal is under the control of the owner/handler at all times, and is restrained by a leash or other appropriate device that does not exceed 6 feet in length. Animals on campus for instructional purposes must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

Full-Time Professional Staff

Full-time professional staff (area coordinators and hall directors) may be allowed to have an animal on campus in accordance with guidelines established by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. All requests must be made in writing and be approved prior to bringing the animal on campus. Staff must execute the Pet Policy Contract and shall be bound by the terms, conditions and sanctions of the contract, as it may be amended from time to time, and must agree to indemnify Winston-Salem State University for any and all damages caused by the pet.

Requirements for Professional Staff

The staff member must submit a request in writing to the Director of Housing and Residence Life before acquiring or bringing a pet to campus. The Director of Housing and Residence Life must approve the application in writing, with the exception of fish, before it is allowed on campus. A deposit of $250 is required with each application, which the university may use to remedy any damages caused by the pet. The staff member is legally and financially responsible for all actions of the pet and must maintain insurance for bodily injury, including bite coverage, with a minimum coverage of $300,000, with Winston-Salem State University named as an additional insured on the policy. Only one dog or cat is permitted per residence. All pet waste must be picked up immediately and properly disposed of in large dumpsters, not small individual receptacles.

Pets must be kenneled when staff members are away from the campus or unable to occupy the residence for longer than 24 hours. Staff members with a private entrance with a fenced yard must post signage at all gates of entrance that states “Beware of Dog.” Upon vacating a residence, the staff member is responsible for cleaning it so that it qualifies as a pet-free living environment. Cleaning shall include, but is not limited to having all carpeted and fabric areas professionally vacuumed and steamed.

Animal Restrictions

Only domesticated animals will be allowed in the apartment. The Office of Housing and Residence Life must have on file at all times the following information: pet license number, annual vaccination records, and contact information for the primary veterinarian. All pets must be spayed or neutered at the minimum age. Only dogs on the preapproved list maintained by the Office of Housing and Resident Life are eligible to be on campus. Cats must be declawed and pets shall not exceed 40 pounds. The pet is only permitted in the approved residence and is not allowed on the residence hall floors or in common areas, unless otherwise approved by the Director of Housing and Residence Life.

III.     Applicability

This Policy applies to all WSSU Faculty, Staff and Students.

IV.    Compliance


Pets on campus or service animals in violation of this policy may be subject to apprehension and impounding. If a pet is to be removed for safety or liability concerns, the owner will be notified in writing and have 48 hours to remove the pet from WSSU property. Failure to remove the pet will result in impoundment of the pet and disciplinary action for the employee, up to and including dismissal. Students who violate this policy may also be charged with any other applicable violation of the WSSU Code of Student Conduct or an appropriate policy governing university employees. Owners of such impounded animals are responsible for any fees or fines that may subsequently be assessed by the city or county.

The university has the authority to remove a service animal from its grounds or facilities if the service animal becomes unruly or disruptive, unclean, and/or unhealthy to the extent that the animal's behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or otherwise causes a fundamental alteration in the university's services, programs, or activities. If such behavior or condition persists, the owner may be directed not to bring the animal into public campus areas until the problem is rectified.


In the event of a dispute about an accommodation relating to a service animal, or an animal restriction, a complaining party, who is a member of the university community (i.e. student, EPA employee, SPA employee) may file a formal grievance through the established grievance procedure applicable to that classification of individual. All others should contact the Office for Equal Opportunity to file a complaint.

Responsible Division: Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted June 15, 2015