Skip to main content

Emotional Support Animal Policy and Procedure

After the Center for Students with disABILITIES Office has approved the accommodation of an  Emotional Support Animal the student is responsible for submitting the approved Emotional Support Animal Procedure Acknowledgement and Information Form to Student Housing and Residential Life along with any other required documentation and payments for final approval. Service Animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA) are not subject to this policy.

 

No animal will be permitted in University housing that:

  • Is not approved by the Center for Students with disABILITIES office
  • Is not approved by SHRL
  • Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others
  • Would cause a substantial physical damage to the property of the University and other residents
  • Would pose an undue financial and administrative burden to the University
  • Would fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s housing operations

 

Standards for Approved Emotional Support Animals

All approved emotional support animals must comply with applicable laws regarding animals and their treatment and care and also meet the following standards:

 

Dogs

  • All required immunizations must be up-to-date and a copy of the immunizations must be on file with the Housing Office.
  • Dogs must be licensed and a copy of the license must be on file with the Housing Office.  
  • Dogs must be spayed or neutered. A copy of the veterinarian’s report must be on file with the Housing Office.  
  • Collars and tags must be worn at all times. The dog must be kept on a leash at all times when outside the residence hall or apartment. Dogs must never be allowed to run freely.
  • Dogs must possess friendly and sociable characteristics. A specific dog can be restricted from the premises by the Director or their charge based on any confirmed threatening or territorial behavior.
  • Dog obedience and training programs are highly recommended.

 

Domestic Cats

  • All required immunizations must be up-to-date and a copy of the immunizations must be on file with the Housing Office.  
  • Cats must be licensed and a copy of the license must be on file with the Housing Office.
  •  Cats must be spayed or neutered. A copy of the veterinarian’s report must be on file with the Housing Office. 
  • Collars and tags must be worn at all times. The cat must be kept on a leash at all times when outside the residence hall or apartment. Cats must never be allowed to run freely.

 

Any Other Animal

  • To be considered on a case by case basis.

 

Standards of Behavior by Animal and Animal Owner

Health, sanitary, safety, and disruptive standards must be maintained as follows:

  • Animals require daily food and attention, as well as a daily assessment of their general health, behavior and overall welfare.
  • Animals cannot be left unattended overnight at any time. If the owner must be away, they must either take the animal with them, or make arrangements for them to be cared for elsewhere.
  • Emotional support animals must not be taken into the residence hall or apartment offices, administrative offices, common space or student living areas.
  • Animal feces, defined as cat litter box contents and any solid animal waste, must be disposed of properly. It is the owner’s responsibility to remove feces from University grounds, dispose of it in a plastic bag, and then place that bag in the garbage dumpsters outside. Cleanup must occur IMMEDIATELY. Animal feces may not be disposed of in any trash receptacle or through the sewer system inside any building at the University of Houston. Waste MUST be taken to any apartment or residence hall dumpster for disposal.
  • Residents with cats must properly maintain litter boxes. In consideration of the health of the cat and occupants of the apartment or the residence hall room, cat litter box contents must be disposed of properly and regularly. The litter box must be changed with new cat litter regularly as outlined by the manufacturer.
  • Animal accidents within the residence hall room or apartment must be promptly cleaned up using appropriate cleaning products.
  • Regular and routine cleaning of floors, kennels, cages, and litter boxes must occur. The odor of an animal emanating from the residence hall room or apartment is not acceptable. (see Cleaning Section below)
  • Any flea or pest infestation must be attended to promptly by a professional extermination company at owner’s expense. Owners are expected to promptly notify Student Housing and arrange for extermination when a flea or pest problem is noted. Animal owners may take some precautionary measures such as: flea and pest medications prescribed by veterinarians, flea and tick collars, taking your animal to the veterinarian for flea and tick baths.  Because not all of the precautions listed here can prevent flea and tick infestations, the owner is responsible for extermination costs after vacating the apartment or residence hall room.
  • Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others (e.g., barking continuously, growling, yowling, howling, etc.). Animals which constitute a threat or nuisance to staff, residents or property, as determined by the Director or their charge, must be removed within seven (7) days of notification. If UHPD determines that the animal poses an immediate threat, animal control may be summoned to remove the animal. If the behavior of an animal can be addressed by the owner and the owner can change the behavior of an animal so that the pet does not have to be removed, then a written action plan must be submitted by the owner. The action plan must outline the action that will take place to alleviate the problems and also must give a deadline as to length of time the plan will take. Any action plan must meet the approval of the Director or their charge. The day after the deadline for removal from the apartment, University staff will do a residence hall room or apartment inspection to check damages and infestation and then the mandatory cleaning and extermination will be scheduled. Any animal owner found not adhering to the removal directive will be subject to disciplinary action; which could include contract cancellation.
  • An animal must not be involved in an incident where a person experiences either the threat of or an actual injury as a result of the animal’s behavior.
  • The animal owner will take all reasonable precautions to protect university staff and residents; as well as the property of the University and of the residents.
  • The owner will notify Student Housing and Residential Life if the animal has escaped its confines and is unable to be located within twelve (12) hours.
  • All liability for the actions of the animal (bites, scratches, etc.) is the responsibility of the owner.

 

Violations concerning any of the aforementioned may result in the resident having to find alternative housing off-campus for the animal and, as warranted, may also result in a resident being in breach of their housing contract.

 

Cleaning and Damages

  • When the resident moves out of his/her apartment or residence hall room, or no longer owns the animal the apartment or residence hall room will be assessed to determine if damage to department property can be attributed to the animal. Student Housing and Residential Life maintains the right to conduct apartment or residence hall room inspections annually for the purpose of assessing damage caused by the animal or otherwise determine the resident’s compliance with this procedure.
  • The animal owner has an obligation to make sure that the apartment or residence hall room is as clean as the original standard. If the apartment or room has carpeting, this also includes regular vacuuming and spot cleaning. Damages and extraordinary cleaning caused by the animal are the responsibility of the resident. Replacement or repair of damaged items will be the financial responsibility of the owner.

 

 

 

Emotional Support Animal Policy and Procedure Form