Assistance Animals

In accordance with the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at the University of Connecticut engages in an deliberative, interactive process with students in order to determine eligibility for reasonable accommodations, including the use of an Assistance Animal. An assistance animal is an animal specifically designated by a qualified medical provider that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability. Assistance animals are also commonly known as companion, therapeutic or emotional support animals. Such an animal may afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their residence hall provided there is a connection between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. Assistance animals are not typically trained to provide specific services for an individual with a disability and can be just about any species of animal.

When making a determination regarding a student’s request for an assistance animal, the CSD will consider the following:

  • The size of the animal;
  • Whether the animal’s presence would force another student from that individual’s housing (e.g., serious allergies);
  • Whether the animal’s presence would violate individuals’ rights to peace and quiet enjoyment;
  • Whether the animal is housebroken or able to live with others;
  • Direct threat (currently or in the past) to the individual or others;
  • Past excessive damage to housing caused by the animal;

Documentation Requirements

When requesting this accommodation, specific requirements include:

A description of your condition and how it impacts one or more major life activities;

  • A description regarding the necessity of the assistance animal for you to use or enjoy on-campus housing;
  • A description regarding the relationship between your disability and the relief the animal provides.

Handler Responsibilities

  • Keep approved assistance animal within assigned residence hall room and/or apartment. An assistance animal outside of the residence hall room and/or apartment must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness. Assistance animals are not allowed in any other controlled spaces (e.g., other individual rooms and/or apartments) without advance permission. Assistance animals are permitted to be in outdoor public areas to the same extent as pets.
  • Do not leave assistance animals alone for extended periods of time. Assistance animals may be left unattended only for reasonable periods of time. Assistance animals cannot be left alone overnight or for extended periods of time in University housing or be cared for by anyone other than the student owner absent permission from Residential Life. The University may request impoundment of an assistance animal left for longer than a reasonable period of time. Owners of impounded animals will be held responsible for payment of any impound and/or license fees required to secure the release of their animal. A student who leaves their assistance animal unattended for longer than a reasonable period of time will receive one warning, and if the behavior occurs a second time, the University reserves the right to require the owner to remove the animal from campus and to prohibit the animal from being permitted back onto University property.
  • Comply with all state and local laws concerning animals (including registration, vaccinations and tags).
  • Control your animal. All owners are responsible for controlling their animals, for cleaning up any waste created by the animal and for any damage caused by the animal to individuals or property while on University property.

CSD Responsibilities

  • Meet with student to engage in the deliberative, interactive process and determine if an assistance animal is indicated.
  • Notify student and Residential Life about student's approved assistance animal.
  • Provide student with information regarding next steps with ResLife regarding the animal living on campus.

Residential Life Responsibilities

  • Contact student to discuss student responsibilities and animal agreement.
  • Ask the student to remove the animal from the University residence hall and/or apartment if an assistance animal is disruptive

Removal of Animal/Disruptive Animals

  • The University reserves the right to remove or exclude an approved animal from University property if:
    • The animal poses a direct threat to health and safety;
    • The handler does not maintain control of the animal;
    • The presence of an animal fundamentally alters a University program;
    • Improper/inadequate care of the animal is exhibited, including if the animal is not housebroken;
    • Damage or harm is caused by the animal.
  • If the presence of an assistance animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the University reserves the right to remove or exclude the animal from University property. In such a situation, Public Safety may be contacted to assist in the removal of the animal.
  • If an assistance animal is disruptive in the University residence hall and/or apartment, the University may ask the student to remove the animal immediately.