Animals on Campus Policy
Authority: Student Affairs
Date Enacted or Revised: August 4, 2014; Revised October 15, 2015; February 4, 2019; March 15, 2022
Ordinances and Regulations
McNeese State University expects employees, students, and guests to adhere to City of Lake Charles Code of Ordinances and the Code of Ordinances of the Parish of Calcasieu, Louisiana regarding animals on campus (www.cppj.net, click on animal services; animal control; laws pertaining to animals; and www.cityoflakecharles.com, click on Code of Ordinance). Animals running at large are prohibited; all animals must be leashed and under control of the owner. Service animals as authorized under ADAAA are allowed; however, the owner must register the animal with McNeese State 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 where a student or employee may have need to utilize a service animal (trained dog or, in certain instances, trained miniature horse) in campus buildings and facilities and on grounds where animals are not typically authorized and 2) occasions where persons who have applied and been approved to reside in campus housing may request an accommodation permitting an emotional support animal (i.e., “therapy” or “assistance” animal) to reside with them in their campus residence.
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. Each request pertaining to such animals will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
In cases where it is clearly evident an animal is providing service to a person with a disability (e.g., seeing-eye dogs for vision impaired persons; rescue or fetch assistance for persons with mobility impairments), no further information or documentation may be necessary.
In cases where 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 in order 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.
Emotional Support Animals
In cases where a resident seeks authorization for an emotional support animal to reside with them in campus housing, the University will consider the following:
- Does the person seeking to use and 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 use and house the animal in a campus residence have a disability-related need for an assistance animal whose work, assistance, tasks, or services, or whose emotional support alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the person’s existing disability?
The person seeking accommodation for an emotional support animal may not bring the animal into campus housing until written approval by the appropriate University official has been granted. 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 other 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).
Responsibility for Animal Behavior
Owners are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their animals. Owners are expected to ensure the presence of service or emotional support animals do not create distractions from the academic mission of the University and must take proactive steps to:
- properly clean and dispose of discharged animal waste in an appropriate manner in garbage receptacles located in outdoor areas 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-born 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 trepidation or alarm among other persons in relation to the animal;
- maintain appropriate proximity to and control of service animals at all times; service animals may not be left unattended or under supervision of persons other than the owner while on campus;
- maintain appropriate and regular proximity and supervision and perform checks on the welfare of emotional support animals at regular time intervals throughout each day; emotional support animals may not be left unattended or separated from the owner within a personal residence in a residence hall overnight, during scheduled or emergency campus closures, over weekends or holiday breaks or for other extended periods of time and may not be left under supervision of persons other than the owner within the assigned personal residence or residence hall;
- ensure emotional support animals are not pregnant and have been properly spayed or neutered in advance of bringing such animals into the assigned personal residence of a residence hall.
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 premise if the animal “…is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or” or 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).
Damages to physical facilities and equipment resulting from emotional support animals in a personal residence within a residence hall are treated in the same fashion as other forms of damage beyond routine wear and tear, may result in assessment of fines and charges to the owner’s account, may result in forfeiture of housing deposits, may result in involuntary removal of the animal from the residence hall, and may result in 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, 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 in which the owner is an occupant (lobbies; game, study, class, laundry, and multi-purpose rooms; offices), except as necessary to access or traverse hallways, corridors, elevators, stairwells, and central lobbies and only for purposes of entry and exit of the assigned residence hall.
Students, faculty, or staff that require a service dog in a laboratory are required to contact the Office of Accessibility Services to document a need and recommendations assessment. The office is located 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 permission of the owner and only permitted outside of 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 and 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 during the period of presence or residence 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 an accommodation for use of an emotional support animal in campus housing, contact the Office of Housing and Residence Life, Housing Leasing Office, (337) 475-5606 or the Office of Student Services, Holbrook Student Union Annex (New Ranch), (337) 475-5609. A written request for accommodation of an emotional support animal, accompanied by appropriate written documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional, must be submitted in order for a request to be reviewed and considered. Properly filed requests will normally be reviewed and a determination communicated back to the requesting party (owner) within 30 days.
Modifications or Appeals
Modifications to 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 Academic Advisory Council, the Administrative Advisory Council, the University Listserv, the Student Listserv, and the University Policies webpage.