Animals on Campus Policy
Authority: Student Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: August 4, 2014; Revised October 15, 2015; February 4, 2019; March 15, 2022; February 7, 2023
Ordinances and Regulations
McNeese State University expects employees, students, and guests to adhere to the Codes of Ordinances for the City of Lake Charles (click on Code of Ordinance and navigate to Chapter 4) and the Parish of Calcasieu, Louisiana, (click on Animal Services, then Animal Services on the left of the next screen, then Fines, then “click here to read Code of Ordinances) regarding animals on campus. Animals running at large are prohibited; all animals must be leashed and under control of the owner. Service animals as authorized under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADA/AA) are allowed; however, the owner must register the animal with University Police. McNeese reserves the right to determine which animals may be permitted or prohibited on campus grounds, at University events, or in campus facilities.
This policy provides for 1) occasions when a student or employee may have the need to utilize a service animal in campus buildings and on grounds where animals are not typically authorized and 2) occasions when campus housing residents may request an accommodation permitting an emotional support animal (i.e., “therapy” or “assistance” animal) to reside with them. This policy aligns with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Notice FHEO-2013-01, Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-Funded Programs. This policy also aligns with Title II (State and local government services) and Title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Basis of Requests
Service or emotional support animals are not pets; rather, they provide important service or support to their owners. The health and safety of animals, owners, and the entire campus community, as well as the integrity of the academic mission of the University are of paramount concern. Requests pertaining to such animals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
In cases in which it is clearly evident an animal is providing service to a person with a disability (e.g., seeing-eye dogs for visually impaired persons; rescue or fetch assistance for persons with mobility impairments), no further information or documentation may be necessary.
In cases in which it is not clearly evident an animal is providing service (e.g., hearing dogs for hard of hearing or deaf persons; animals that alert owners in advance of seizures), and in cases where an animal is providing emotional support, the University may request information and documentation to properly consider and respond to the request. In such cases, the University may ask: (1) Is this a service animal that is required because of a disability? and (2) What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform? The University may not require documentation indicating the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal. Students and employees with service animals are encouraged to register with the Office of Accessibility Services.
Emotional Support Animals
In cases where a resident seeks authorization for an emotional support animal (ESA) to reside with them in campus housing, the University will consider the following:
- Does the person seeking to house the animal in a campus residence have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?
- Does the person seeking to house the animal in a campus residence have a disability-related need for an assistance animal whose work, assistance, tasks, services, or emotional support alleviates one or more of the symptoms or effects of the person’s disability?
The person seeking accommodation for an emotional support animal may not bring the animal into campus housing until approval is granted according to the protocols denoted in the campus housing section. The University may ask a person seeking accommodation for an emotional support animal in housing “…to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or another mental health professional that the animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability. Such documentation is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide some type of disability-related assistance or emotional support” (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01, page 4).
Campus Housing Protocols for Students who have Emotional Support Animals
There are specific protocols in campus housing for students who have emotional support animals. These guidelines may be modified for extenuating circumstances or in the best interest of the health and safety of McNeese students.
- Approvals for emotional support animals in campus housing are reviewed twice per semester. The first review is by the second Friday of classes, and the second review is by the last day of scheduled midterms.
- If a student has roommates and/or suitemates, each student must agree (in writing or using an approved form) to have an emotional support animal in the living space. If any of the occupants do not agree or have a physical condition that is compromised by the presence of an animal, the student requesting to have an emotional support animal will be required to work with the housing office to locate an alternate room assignment where the animal will be accepted.
- Animals that are or will exceed 50 pounds or those deemed a threat to the safety of residents are not allowed.
- Residents are required to pay a non-refundable emotional support animal deposit determined by the housing office.
- If a student has an animal in campus housing prior to receiving approval to have an emotional support animal, they may permanently be prohibited from having an emotional support animal on campus and charged according to the Code of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. The student will have 24 hours to remove the animal from campus.
- A campus resident who has approval to have an emotional support animal and violates the Animals on Campus Policy may face penalties including, but not limited to, fines, damage assessments, and other corrective actions.
- Residents with emotional support animals must also be approved by the Housing and/or Resident Life offices. Conditions for updated approval are as follows:
- The student obtains a different animal, including a new animal of the same species and breed.
- The student permanently receives a new room assignment.
- The student discontinues their housing contract, moves off campus, and returns to campus housing.
- Students with felines or canines must provide proof that their animal has received rabies vaccinations and annual booster vaccines prior to the animal being allowed on campus.
- Students may not launder any animal materials or bedding in any University-owned facilities.
- Students with emotional support animals may have increased room inspections with prior notice given to ensure the expectations for having an animal on campus are followed.
Responsibility for Animal Behavior
Owners are ultimately responsible for their animals’ behavior. Owners must ensure that their animals do not create distractions from the academic mission of the University and must take proactive steps to:
- Thoroughly clean and dispose of animal waste in an appropriate manner in outdoor garbage receptacles located away from building entrances and exits;
- Clean, groom, and maintain the animal’s physical condition and living environment in a manner that minimizes nuisances such as fleas, ticks, foul odors, and related hygiene concerns and mitigates health risks associated with animal-borne allergens and disease;
- Prevent (and promptly and fully address) behavioral nuisances such as excessive or uncontrolled barking, meowing, growling, hissing, snarling, aggressive posturing, snapping, scratching, or related behaviors that generate alarm among other persons;
- Maintain appropriate proximity to and control of service animals at all times; service animals may not be left unattended or under the supervision of persons other than the owner while on campus;
- Maintain appropriate, regular proximity and supervision and check on the welfare of emotional support animals at regular time intervals throughout each day; animals may not be left unattended or separated from the owner within a personal on-campus residence overnight, during scheduled or emergency campus closures, during weekends, holiday breaks, or other extended periods of time; and animals may not be left under the supervision of persons other than the owner within the on-campus residence;
- If the owner and their emergency contact are unreachable, Campus Housing may notify the Calcasieu Parish Animal Control Center and shall have the right to have the ESA removed at the owner’s expense.
- Ensure that emotional support animals have been properly spayed or neutered in advance of bringing such animals into the on-campus residence and provide written verification from the veterinarian who performed the surgery for sterilization;
- Ensure emotional support animals wear a collar with appropriate tags (i.e., vaccinations, contact information) at all times;
- Understand McNeese State University is not responsible for an animal during a fire alarm, fire drill, or natural disaster/building emergency;
- Understand McNeese State University is not responsible for loss of, injury to, or death of an ESA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA/AA) specifies “… service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.” ADA/AA further specifies owners may be asked to remove service animals from a premises if the animal 1) is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or 2) the animal is not housebroken. “When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence” (ADA 2010 Revised Requirements, Service Animals, page 2). Animals may be denied access to a campus facility if “…(1) the animal is out of control and its handler does not take effective action to control it; (2) the animal is not housebroken (i.e., trained so that, absent illness or accident, the animal controls its waste elimination); or (3) the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by a reasonable modification to other policies, practices, and procedures” (28 C.F.R. § 35.136; 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c); as referenced in FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01, page 5).
Damage to physical facilities and equipment resulting from emotional support animals in a personal on-campus residence are treated in the same fashion as other forms of damage beyond routine wear and tear. These damages may result in assessment of fines and charges to the owner’s account, forfeiture of housing deposits, involuntary removal of the animal from the residence hall, and/or disciplinary action including loss of access to and use of on-campus housing privileges. Housing lease agreement terms, residence life handbooks, the Code of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, and other applicable University rules and policies may apply.
Access to Facilities
Service animals are permitted to accompany an individual with a disability to all areas of a facility (classrooms, offices, grounds, residence halls, athletic venues, computer labs, dining facilities, library, etc.) where members of the public are normally allowed to go. Emotional support animals are only allowed within a personal residence within the assigned residence hall. These animals are not permitted in other facilities on campus, may not be taken to class or campus events, may not be taken into publicly accessible facilities on campus, and may not be taken into public or quasi-public areas inside of the residence hall where the owner resides (lobbies; game, study, class, laundry, and multi-purpose rooms; offices), except as necessary to access hallways, corridors, elevators, stairwells, and central lobbies and only for purposes of entry and exit of the building. Regardless of consent, an emotional support animal cannot be kept in the bedroom of another student.
Students, faculty, or staff that require a service dog in a laboratory are encouraged to contact the Office of Accessibility Services to document a need and recommendations assessment. The office is in Frazar Memorial Library, Room 102. Miniature horses are not allowed in University laboratories. Service dogs will not be allowed into the laboratory without the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Service dogs can be denied laboratory access if the dog handler cannot control the dog or if it is not housebroken. Faculty and staff are not allowed to request any medical documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate a task, or inquire about the nature of the student’s disability. Owners are responsible for cleanup and disposal of urine and feces. Interaction with the dog is by the owner’s permission and only permitted outside the laboratory.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Service Dogs
Service dogs entering laboratories must be protected to prevent exposure to hazardous chemicals, broken glass, or other hazards that might be present in the laboratory environment. The PPE shall be worn by the dog, purchased by the owner, and include the following:
- Disposable or reusable boots to cover the feet. Commercially available products can be found online at Pawz Rubber Dog Boots.
- Disposable lab coats. Maytex lab coats can be purchased online.
- Disposable plastic-backed absorbent lab paper or pet pads for the dog to lie on during lab to protect them from whatever might be on the floor.
If appropriate PPE is not brought to the lab, then the service dog will not be permitted into the laboratory.
Applicability of City and Parish Ordinances
Service and emotional support animals may be subject to local ordinances regarding vaccination, licensing, and leashing. Owners are responsible for knowing and ensuring animals are in compliance with applicable city and parish ordinances while present or residing on campus.
Procedures for Requesting Information or Accommodation
For additional information about the use of service animals on campus, contact the Office of Accessibility Services, Frazar Memorial Library, Room 102, (337) 475-5916.
For additional information or to request accommodation for the use of an emotional support animal in campus housing, contact the Residence Life Office at (337) 562-6505, Housing Office at (337) 475-5606, or the Office of Accessibility Services at (337) 475-5916. A written request for accommodation of an emotional support animal; appropriate written documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional; and proof of the animal’s vaccination records (felines and canines) must be submitted for a request to be reviewed and considered. Approvals for emotional support animals in campus housing are reviewed twice per semester. The first review is by the second Friday after the start of classes, and the second review is by the last business day of midterm week.
Modifications or Appeals
Modifications or appeals regarding the manner in which this policy is applied are subject to advance review and approval by the president, whose decisions shall be final.
This policy is distributed via the Administrative Advisory Council, University Listserv, Student Listserv, and the University Policies webpage.