Emotional Support Animal Policy

Pacific Union College seeks to accommodate qualified persons with disabilities who need the assistance of therapy animals.  PUC follows the most recent guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regarding emotional support animals (ESA). In accordance with HUD and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), Pacific Union College has created the following guidelines for Emotional Support Animals in college housing. 


“Disability”, as defined by the ADA, means a sensory, mental or physical condition or impairment that is medically diagnosable, and that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, or learning.

An “Emotional Support Animal” (ESA) is one that is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and reside in college housing.  An ESA may provide physical assistance, emotional support, calming, stability, and other kinds of assistance.  ESAs do not perform work or tasks that would qualify them as a “Service Animal” under the American with Disabilities Act.

Policy Overview

You may not bring your Emotional Support Animal on campus until you have met all the requirements outlined and you have received approval from the Access Services Director with notification to residence hall dean. Failure to do so may result in a fine.

In order to qualify for an ESA at Pacific Union College the student must annually provide documentation to corroborate the disability and its nature by submitting the following documents:

From a licensed practitioner:

  • The student has a disability: Provide a signed letter on professional letterhead from student’s medical or mental health provider stating the nature of the disability including the provider’s opinion that the condition affects a major life activity.
  •  The animal is necessary to afford the student equal opportunity to use and enjoy college housing: The student’s licensed provider includes in the documentation how the animal is necessary in order to provide the impaired student access to college housing and defines the identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

From the student:

  • Letter from student explaining the need for the ES animal.  Please specify need for the animal and include picture, name, description of animal, and date acquired.  Include dates of medical examinations, vaccinations and prescriptions with representation that it is housebroken.

Requirements of Emotional Support Animals and Their Owners

  • Care: The care and supervision of the ESA is the responsibility of the owner. The owner must maintain control of the animal at all times. Animals require daily food, exercise and attention.
  • Identification of ESA: Collars and tags must be worn at all times. 
  • Health: All ESA must comply with local, county, and/or state vaccinations.  A Certificate of Health must be signed yearly by a veterinarian certifying the ESA is healthy and free from any signs of infectious or contagious diseases, parasites, etc.

All owners must submit verification from a veterinarian reporting that the ESA is spayed or neutered.

  • Leash:  The ESA must be kept on a leash at all times when outside the residence hall and must never be allowed to run freely.
  • Training:  For dogs, obedience and training programs are highly recommended. 
  • Feces:  The ESA owner must never allow the animal to defecate on any public or private property unless the owner immediately removes the waste.  The owner should always carry equipment sufficient to clean up the animal’s feces whenever necessary and is responsible for the proper disposal of the animal’s feces and for any damage caused by the waste or its removal. Litter box contents must be properly disposed of and regularly changed with new pet litter or pads.
  • Disruption: The ESA must not be allowed to disrupt others.  This may consist of, but is not limited to, continuous barking, growling, howling, etc.
  • Liability: All liability for the actions of the ESA (bites, scratches, damages, etc.) is the responsibility of the owner.  Violations may result in the resident having to find alternative housing for the animal.
  • Overnight care:  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, which does not include other residence halls or rooms.
  • Public Areas: ESAs must not be taken into other residence halls or rooms, offices, classrooms or dining areas.
  • Cleaning and Damages:  The College maintains the right to conduct unannounced room inspections for the purpose of assessing cleanliness and occurring damages caused by the animal, which are the responsibility of the owner.

Permitted Emotional Support Animals

Domestic cats and dogs are the allowable Emotional Support Animals (ESA)
Any other type of animal must be considered on a case-by-case basis by representatives of the Disabilities Advisory Committee