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Student Responsibilities for Service and Emotional Support Animals


An animal's handler is solely responsible for ensuring the safety and proper care of their animal at all times.

Disclosure Requirements and Expectations

Proactive Disclosure: Students are required to provide relevant documentation and communicate the presence of an animal to the housing operations office and office of accessibility resources and services before the start of a given semester in accord with the deadlines indicated on the timelines for housing accommodations.

In order to avoid conflict with others' disabilities, animal handlers must disclose the intended presence of an animal in classrooms and offices, in a timely and reasonable manner, to any potentially affected parties, including faculty, advisors, any other staff or Hampshire Community member whose space they may need to access with the animal. If such a conflict arises, both parties should pursue the process for conflict and appeals for service or emotional support animals.

The housing operations office will notify mod or floor-mates of the expected presence of an animal in the living space in the up-coming semester and will work with any individuals who are affected to accommodate their needs separately from those of the animal handler.

Service Animals: We encourage, but do not require, students to make their own disabilities known to the College should they require a service animal accompany them in academic classes, activities, or services on campus.

However, if a student plans to have their service animal live with them in residence, we require that they provide adequate and reasonable notice to the College. Notice to the College is used to ensure the appropriate housing placement is made and that the animal meets the documentation requirements listed below.  Students should provide notice to the College by contacting the office of accessibility resources and services (OARS).

Emotional Support Animals (ESA): Any student requesting to have an emotional support animal as a formal accommodation, must pursue the disability disclosure and accommodation request process and be approved for an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation.

All persons with service animals or emotional support animals are expected to adhere to the expectations for animals on campus and ensure that their animals act and respond appropriately at all times while in public.

Documentation Requirements 
The student must provide the following documentation to the office of accessibility resources and services prior to the approval of accommodation request and prior to the arrival of the animal on campus, and then annually or as requested by a College official:

  • A Picture of the Animal: To allow College personnel to be able to identify an animal appropriately in the case of emergency, animals left unattended or who are lost, and during other routine administrative and housing-related work.
  • Proof of Licensure: If the animal resides on campus it must meet the town of Amherst and/or Massachusetts licensing requirements, and wear tags designating this license.
    • If the animal resides off campus, the animal must meet the licensing requirements of the service animal user/handlers’ resident town and wear tags indicating this licensing when on campus.
  • Proof of Vaccinations: All dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag. All animals residing or coming onto campus on a regular basis must be up to date with vaccinations in accordance with state and local laws and regulations.
  • Proof of Annual Veterinary Care: The student must provide evidence that the animal is receiving annual, routine veterinary care.
  • Proof of Service-Animal-in-Training Status (where applicable): Service animal user/handlers will provide upon request the College with evidence that the animal is a service dog candidate and/or being trained in collaboration with a bona-fide service animal training organization.
  • Insurance: It is recommended that the student have, and provide evidence of, current insurance coverage for damages and/or any injuries the animal may cause to a third party. The College does not take legal or financial responsibility for the impact of any animals on campus.

Animal Identification

Designation: Service animals (including trainees) shall be reasonably identified to the community by harness or service animal vest or other gear when not in a private or student residence. If there is no identification, College staff may ask if the animal is a working service animal. It is strongly encouraged that all emotional support animals also be identified as such in a reasonable manner by use of vest or other clear signage and gear when outside of the handler's residence. Again, emotional support animals are not permitted to enter any buildings or facilities other than the student's residence.

Control Requirements
The animal may not pose a risk of health or safety to others and may not create unreasonable interference for others.

An emotional support or service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether at all times while outside of the student’s private room. If the student is unable to use a harness, leash, or other tether because of a disability, or because the use of such a restraint would interfere with the animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks (service animals only), the animal must be under the handler's control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

Animal Waste

Animal users/handlers are responsible for cleaning up their animal’s waste. Waste must be properly disposed of. Persons with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own animal will not be required to do so; however these individuals should take their animal to designated relief areas. Relief areas are not designated publicly and will be designated on an individual basis with the collaboration of the housing operations office (HOO) and the College grounds personnel. If an animal relieves itself in non-designated areas, these individuals should request assistance with cleaning up.

Care of Animal
Students are expected to maintain flea, tick, and odor control.  Animals must be regularly groomed as appropriate. All animals are expected to be up to date with required vaccinations, licenses, and maintain a regular schedule of veterinary care.

Financial Responsibility
Students who have an animal on campus are financially responsible for property damage caused by the 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.

Restricted Areas
The College may restrict the use of emotional support animals in certain residential locations.

The College may prohibit the use of service animals in certain locations due to health or safety hazards, where service animals may be endangered, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research or fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity. The safety of locations will be individually considered by the director of the office of accessibility resources and services (OARS), the laboratory director or professor, and the College risk management team. If a location is determined to be unsafe, reasonable accommodations will be provided to ensure the individual equal access to the activity.

Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting OARS. In making its decision, OARS will consult with the appropriate department and/or laboratory representative regarding the nature of the restricted area and any ongoing research.