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Pets, Service, and Support Animals on Campus

Pet Policy
Pets and other animals, with the exception of service animals and emotional support animals approved in accordance with the College’s policy, are prohibited in all residence buildings. Residents are also prohibited from keeping or providing for animals on College property, and visiting animals must be kept outdoors on a leash at all times in the presence of the owner. Hosts are responsible for cleaning up after any visiting animals. Visiting is defined as temporary, short term (less than a day), and occasional (no more than three times per term) and not overnight. Students who violate this policy are subject to referral to the Formal Conduct Process, including seizure of animals when students fail to heed warnings and other attempts to resolve concerns with animals found in the residences. Students will bear any associated cost to the College or any of its employees or agents, whether because of damage to property owned by the College or others or because of any claim brought against the College by any person because of injury, illness, or other reason as a result of the student having brought an animal onto campus, regardless of whether the animal is in violation of this policy. 

Pet: A pet is an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. A pet is NOT considered a service or emotional support animal and not allowed in campus residences.

Hampshire College is committed to creating a welcoming environment through the use of commonly accepted guidelines and procedures that allow animals to be on-campus for specific purposes. These purposes include reasonable accommodations for employees, students, and visitors with disabilities in compliance with applicable Massachusetts state and federal laws. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended and related laws, rules and regulations, including the Fair Housing Act, Hampshire College will reasonably accommodate requests for service animals and emotional support animals to reside with their owner/handler in College provided housing. 

Disability:  Defined as a physical or mental condition or impairment that is medically recognizable and diagnosable, and substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities.  These limitations may include performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.  An individual is substantially limited in major life activities if they are unable to perform the activity, or is significantly restricted as to the manner in which they can perform that activity when compared to the average person.  Acceptable documentation of a disability will be from either a licensed medical or mental health provider and must verify the disability and describe the need for a service or therapy animal.

Service Animal Access
Service Animal: Any dog 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. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition, however the College will consider other animal species on a case-by-case basis in accordance with Federal regulations. The tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.

Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Service Puppies and Service Dogs in Training: These animals are considered to have the same public accommodation rights as service animals.

Students requiring use of a service animal as a means of access may utilize their service animal as needed throughout campus. It is important that, if a student resides on campus that they connect with the Housing Operations Office (HOO) to ensure they are placed in a residence which does not conflict with their disability. In order to maintain equal access for other residents, it is also important for HOO to be able to ensure the presence of an animal does not conflict with their own disabilities.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s): Animals that provide assistance and/or emotional support to its owner by its very presence but is not trained to perform specific tasks in response to the disability. These animals (not limited to dogs) do not meet the ADA definition of a Service Animal, but may qualify under the Fair Housing Actand Hampshire College’s Policy on ESA’s. Because ESA’s are not required to perform a specific task for a student and do not need to be with the student at all times, they are only permitted in the student’s residence. As such they are considered a housing-based accommodation and requests for an ESA are handled as any other request for housing-based accommodation.

Students with a disability may apply to have an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation in housing facilities that otherwise impose restrictions or prohibitions on animals.  Students requesting an ESA as a reasonable accommodation must register with the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services (OARS)and pursue the Housing Accommodation Request Process. Students must register with OARS at least 30 days before housing for the animal is needed and provide documentation in compliance with documentation guidelines.

In order to qualify for such an accommodation, the emotional support animal must be necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling or to participate in the housing service or program and there must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides documented by a medical professional competent to address the need for the accommodation and the requirement of the specific accommodation requested.

Students going through the request process should note that all assistance or support animals must be spayed or neutered. In addition, all animals must be housebroken or live within a contained habitat, and may not weight more than 40 pounds. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Students whose requests are approved will be permitted to have one assistance/emotional support animal. Requests for more than one animal may be considered with specific documentation as to the need for the animal to be paired. Under no circumstances will breeding pairs of animals be permitted.