Hamline Policies

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Service and Emotional Support Animals

Department responsible: Dean of Students office

Owner: Disability Resources

Pertains to: All undergraduate and graduate students

Description: Hamline University provides reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities who require an ESA. A service animal is not considered an accommodation and therefore does not require approval.



It is the desire of Hamline University (Hamline) to meet the needs of the entire Hamline community in an atmosphere characterized by inclusion, open communication, and personal concern. Hamline recognizes the importance of Service Animals and Therapy Animals to individuals with disabilities. The following policy has been established to provide a means for people with disabilities, who require the use of a Service or Therapy Animal as a reasonable accommodation, to receive the benefit of the work or tasks performed by such animals or the therapeutic support they provide on the premises of Hamline, and presents a standard of behavior for both animals and the students, faculty, and staff who are in proximity to the animals. Hamline reserves the right to amend the policy as needed.


A. Service Animal

Effective March 15, 2011, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a, “service animal” as “any dog that has been 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.” The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) provides a limited exception for miniature horses. Other animals, whether wild or domestic, do not qualify as Service Animals. Service Animals are working animals.

B. Therapy Animal

A Therapy Animal is an animal that works, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or an animal that provides emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Therapy 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.). The student must demonstrate a relationship between their ability to function and the support of the animal by submitting a letter from their licensed, treating professional which outlines the diagnosis, its current impact on the student, the recommendation for a therapy animal, and how the animal is likely to mitigate symptoms and/or provide the student with an equal opportunity to live in campus housing.

C. Approved Animal

An “Approved Animal” is a Service Animal or Therapy Animal that has been granted as a reasonable accommodation under this policy.

D. Owner

The “Owner” is the individual who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring the “approved animal” into campus facilities.

Policy Statement:

Hamline University is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities who need a service or therapy animal.

Section I. Conflicting Health Conditions

Housing personnel will make a reasonable effort to notify tenants in the residence building where the Approved Animal will be located. Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Residential Life if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an Approved Animal. The University is prepared to also reasonably accommodate individuals with such medical conditions that require accommodation when living in proximity to an Approved Animals. Residential Life will resolve any conflict in a timely manner. Staff members will consider the conflicting needs and/or accommodations of all persons involved.

Section II. Owner Responsibilities

  • The Owner is responsible for assuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for students who reside there.

  • The Owner is financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage. The owner’s responsibility covers but is not limited to replacement of furniture, carpet, window-, wall-covering, and the like. The owner is expected to cover these costs at the time of repair and/or move-out.

  • The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to Hamline premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence. Hamline shall have the right to bill the student account of the owner for unmet obligations.

  • The Owner must notify Disability Resources and Residential Life in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed or is no longer in residence. Residential Life will then notify Facilities Services and Safety & Security Services.

  • The Owner's residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks or other pests as needed. The applicable housing office for the residence hall will schedule the inspection. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a Hamline-approved pest control service. The owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls.

  • (For students in the Residence Halls and/or Apartment shares) All roommates or suitemates of the owner must sign an agreement allowing the Approved Animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommates or suitemates do not approve, either the owner and animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by the appropriate Housing office for the residence location, may be moved to a different location.

  • Service Animals may travel freely with their owner throughout University Housing (and other areas of the University; see Section III part G of this document).

  • Therapy Animals must be contained within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, apartment) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness.

  • Approved Animals may not be left overnight in university housing to be cared for by another student. Animals must be taken with the student if they leave campus for a prolonged period.

  • Residential Life has the ability to relocate owner and Approved Animal if necessary.

  • Any violation of the above rules may result in immediate removal of the animal from the university and may be reviewed through the Residential Judicial Process and the Owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.

  • Should the Approved Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill their housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

  • The Owner undertakes to comply with animal health and wellbeing requirements as set forth in Section III.

Section III. Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Animal at Hamline University

A. Introduction
The following guidelines apply to all Approved Animals and their owners.

B. Care and Supervision:
Care and supervision of the animal are the responsibility of the individual who benefits from the Approved Animal's use. The person is required to maintain control of the animal at all times.

Exclusion from campus: A service animal may be excluded from campus when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Infractions will be handled on an individual basis.

C. Animal Health and Well-being

  • Vaccination: In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Although not mandated, cats should have the normal shots required for a healthy animal. Local licensing requirements must be followed.

  • Health: Animals, other than cats and dogs, to be housed in Hamline housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian's statement regarding the animal's health. Hamline has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention. (Local licensing law is followed.)

  • Licensing: Hamline reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed.

  • Training: Service Animals must be properly trained.

  • Leash: If appropriate the animal must be on a leash, unless the leash would inhibit the animal's ability to be of service.

  • Other conditions: Hamline may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.

D. Requirements for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the Hamline Community

  • They are to allow a Service Animal to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus, except where animals are specifically prohibited.

  • They are not to touch or pet an Approved Animal unless invited to do so.

  • They are not to feed an Approved Animal.

  • They are not to startle an Approved Animal deliberately.

  • They are not to separate or to attempt to separate an owner from their Approved Animal.

  • They are not to inquire for details about the owner's disabilities. The nature of a person's disability is a private matter.

E. Removal of Approved Animal
Hamline may exclude/remove an Approved Animal when:

  • The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or

  • The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of Hamline’s program, or

  • The owner does not comply with Owner Responsibilities (see Section II) in campus facilities, or

  • The animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the Hamline community.

F. Areas Off Limits to Service Animals
The University may prohibit the use of Service Animals in certain locations because of health and safety restrictions (e.g. where the animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research). Restricted areas may include, but are not limited to, the following areas: custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, research laboratories, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is necessary, wood and metal shops, motor pools, rooms with heavy machinery, the servery, and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals. Exceptions to restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by Disability Resources in conjunction with Facilities Services and the appropriate department representative; the person directing the restricted area has the final decision.

G. Areas Off Limits to Therapy Animals

All areas except for privately assigned living space in residential housing are off limits to approved Therapy Animals.

H. Relief Areas/Disposal of Animal Waste
Consistent with the reasonable capacity of the individual, the owner is also responsible for cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must relieve the animal in areas designated by Hamline Facilities Services. For assistance determining the best areas to relieve service animals, please contact the director of Disability Resources at 651-523-2521. Persons with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own animal will make arrangements to dispose of animal waste in a manner acceptable to Hamline. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and tied securely before being disposed of in an outside trash dumpster. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.

I. Emergency Situations
In the case of an emergency, emergency and public safety personnel should be made aware that there is a service animal on the premises. Every effort should be made to keep the animal with its owner. It may be necessary to leave the animal behind in certain disaster situations.