Assistance Animal Policy


Assistance Animals:

As defined under the Fair Housing Act ( ) Assistance Animals includes Service Animals as well as Emotional Support Animals that have been documented as providing passive emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability, allowing them to benefit from WPU’s residential program.  Animals providing these passive services are referred to as Emotional Support animals.

Service Animal: 

As defined by the ADA (, a service animal is a dog that has been trained to perform an active task that mitigates or partially mitigates the impact of the handler’s disability.

The ADA also recognizes similarly trained miniature horses as an alternative to dogs.  Many of WPU's current residential facilities are not suitable for housing miniature horses. Accommodation of a miniature horse as a service animal will be determined under ADA guidance, including an assessment of (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

Emotional Support Animals:

Emotional Support Animals (also known as Assistance animals) do not qualify as Service Animals, but can be a reasonable accommodation if they have been documented by an appropriate health care provider as providing passive emotional support that alleviates one or more symptoms of a person’s disability or serves a defined role in the person’s treatment and is necessary for program participation. The University reserves the right to seek an independent assessment by an appropriate health care provider concerning the need for such animals at its own expense. 

Therapy Animals:

Therapy Animals are animals in the company of their handlers who are visiting the University to provide short-term services. Therapy Animals have been trained to provide wellness, stress reduction, or therapeutic short-term visits and are made available to members of the University Community on a transient basis in specific locations. These programs are initiated by University departments and are not subject to this policy.


All other privately owned animals.


A student with a disability who utilizes a Service or Emotional Support Animal.

Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus.  Emotional Support Animals may be allowed in residential facilities on request as a reasonable accommodation. This is an exception to Residence Life’s No Pets Policy. Emotional Support Animals are not allowed in academic areas.

All animals are the responsibility of their handlers and should be under their control (i.e. in proximity to the owner and responsive to commands, in a harness, or leashed) in public spaces.  An animal’s behavior is considered the handler’s behavior and will be held to the same basic standard of conduct as their handlers.  If they are disruptive to university business or reasonable behavioral expectations for educational, medical, and residential environments, handlers may be asked to correct the animal’s behavior or remove it from the environment. 

If you have questions or concerns related to these policies, please contact the Accessibility Resource Center at or (973) 720-2853.

All animal owners are responsible for any damage caused by their animals on campus and must take appropriate precautions to prevent property damage or injury. If a student’s service or assistance animal causes damage to university property, the cost of the damage will be assessed and assigned to the student’s bill.

The cost of care, arrangements and responsibility for the well-being of authorized animals are the sole responsibility of the owner at all times.  Assistance animals housed in the residence halls must be appropriately secured when left unattended and must not be left unattended for more than a few hours.  The length of time that an animal can be left unattended depends on the species, breed, age, and temperament of the animal.  During emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm, emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the animal and may not be held responsible for the care, damage to, or loss of the animal. Assistance animals may not be left unattended in parked cars or tied or chained to poles, fences, etc. on campus.

In order to be on campus, Service or Emotional Support Animals must:

  •  Meet Legal Requirements: All requirements for the presence of animals in public places (vaccinations, licensure, ID tags, etc.) mandated by state or local ordinances must be followed, including but not limited to licensing: the animal must meet licensing requirements and wear the tags if the animal is residing on campus. If the animal accompanies a commuter student and resides in another town, the animal must meet the licensing requirements of the student’s resident town and wear the tags designated by that community.  Students authorized to bring service or support animals to campus must provide documentation of licensing on an annual basis. Records of such are to be maintained by the Accessibility Resource Center.
  • Be Under Control of the Owner: The animal must be under full control of the owner at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from all assistance animals while on campus. If a service dog, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ appropriate training techniques to correct the situation. In addition:
    • When outside of the owner’s residence, the animal must be on a leash or caged at all times. It should never be permitted to wander the campus without a leash even when accompanied by the owner.
    • The animal must be as unobtrusive as possible when in the presence of other members of the University community.
    • Animals must be house-trained. The animal must urinate or defecate in a litter box, in a cage, or outside.
    • Assistance animals are prohibited from kitchens and food preparation areas except those in apartment or residence facilities.
  • Consequences for misbehavior: The assistance animal is held to the conduct and etiquette stated in this policy. The handler is fully responsible for all actions of the assistance animal. When an assistance animal is determined to be out of control or otherwise in violation of this Policy, the University will take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of its members. Consequences for animal misconduct may include, but are not limited to: muzzling a barking dog, refresher training for the animal and its handler, or removal from University facilities. If the actions of the animal result in a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the owner may be charged accordingly.

  • Adhere to Cleanup Rule: The owner must follow local clean up ordinances when the animal defecates. Individuals with disabilities who physically cannot clean up after their own assistance animal are still responsible for ensuring that waste is disposed of properly.

It is common for persons to have a condition that precipitates an allergic reaction to animals. Residence Life staff, potential and/or actual roommate(s)/suitemate(s), and/or faculty members will be notified of the anticipated presence of an animal. This information will be shared with the intent of preparing for the Service or Emotional Support Animal and/or resolving any potential issues associated with the presence of the Service or Emotional Support Animal. .Persons (including University faculty or staff) who have asthma/allergy/medical issues when in prolonged close proximity with an authorized animal on campus are to be directed to make this known to the Accessibility Resource Center. In the event that a complaint is made by a faculty or staff member, then the Office of Human Resources and the Accessibility Resource Center will collaborate to reach a solution. The person making the complaint must provide verifiable medical documentation to support his/her claim. Action will be taken to consider the needs of both persons to resolve the problem as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The guidelines addressing such conflicting needs apply in the residence halls as well. If there is an allergy/animal conflict within a residence hall that cannot be resolved between the two parties, then the Office of Residence Life and the Accessibility Resource Center will collaborate to reach a solution. Residence Life assigns residents with animals in specific areas that will facilitate easier transition for the animal and the student.  

The animal:

  • Must not be allowed to sniff people, store shelves, tables in eating areas, or personal belongings of others.
  • Must not initiate contact with someone without the owner’s direct permission.
  • Must not display any behaviors or noises that are disruptive to others, such as barking, whining, or growling; scratching doors or chewing on furniture or personal belongings of others.
  • Must avoid excessive personal grooming in public settings.
  • Must not block an aisle or passageway.
  • Must be trained not to be attracted to food that may be in common areas.
  • Be house trained when accompanying the owner inside campus facilities.

A handler may be issued a verbal or written warning by University staff whenever an assistance animal exhibits poor etiquette on campus. Such warnings will be documented on a Public Safety Incident Report or report filed by a Residence Life Staff member, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the behavior.  All such reports will be sent to the Office of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution. Following an etiquette warning, the handler is expected to take action to train the animal to prevent re-occurrence of the offending behavior. If etiquette warnings for animal misconduct are repeatedly issued to a handler, the service or support animal may be ordered to be removed from University facilities, or the handler may be subject to disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Service Animals are generally allowed to accompany their handlers anywhere their handlers are permitted on campus (exceptions may exist in areas requiring protective clothing for access).  If a Service Animal’s role is not obvious the handler may be asked if it is a service animal for a disability and what service it performs. If the handler plans to live in the residence hall and utilize a Service Animal, the handler must work with Residence Life and the Accessibility Resource Center on arranging housing.

The handlers will be required to meet the requirements outlined in the “Responsibility of Students Using Service or Emotional Support Animals on Campus” section of this document.

Any questions can be referred to:

Accessibility Resource Center
Phone: (973) 720-2853
Fax: (973) 720-3293

Emotional Support Animals approved for the residential setting by Residence Life and the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) are not permitted in academic areas. The use of an Emotional Support Animal can be a reasonable accommodation. It is an exception to Residence Life’s No Pets Policy in the residential setting ( An approved Emotional Support Animal is allowed in the room and common spaces associated with the residence hall when under the control of its handler.

To request an Emotional Support Animal as an accommodation, you and your healthcare provider must complete the Emotional Support Animal Request Form. All completed documentation must be received one (1) month prior to the beginning of the term and must be resubmitted on an annual basis. 

The handlers will be required to meet the requirements outlined in the “Responsibility of Students Using Service or Emotional Support Animals on Campus” section of this document.

Any questions can be referred to:

Accessibility Resource Center
Phone: (973) 720-2853
Fax: (973) 720-3293

Resident students who are requesting a guest pass for a guest with a disability who may be accompanied by a service animal, should disclose to Residence Life staff that the guest will be accompanied by an animal which is a service animal. Students are responsible for assuring that their guests and guests’ service animal comply with this policy when on campus.

 A decision to deny approval of a Service or Emotional Support Animal or to remove a previously approved animal may be appealed in writing to the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development. Appeals must be received within 10 days and state a specific reason(s) for why the owner believes the request should be reconsidered. The Dean may consider records and information relevant to the owner’s reconsideration request, whether submitted by the owner or obtained from any University office or staff person, including ARC and the Public Safety Office. Decisions on Service or Emotional Support Animal appeals shall be issued in writing and shall be the final administrative actions of the University.

If the owner believes the denial or removal of a Service or Emotional Support Animal may be discriminatory or a denial of a reasonable accommodation under the protections afforded to disabled students under federal law or the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the owner may submit a written complaint to the Director of Employment Equity and Diversity.  If an owner alleges discrimination based upon a protected category in an appeal letter, the Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Development shall refer the appeal to the Director of Employment Equity and Diversity for a confidential investigation. The Director of Employment Equity and Diversity administrative decision shall be the final actions of the University.

Vaccines help prevent many illnesses that affect pets. Vaccinating your pet has long been considered one of the easiest ways to help him live a long, healthy life. Not only are there different vaccines for different diseases, there are different types and combinations of vaccines. Vaccination is a procedure that has risks and benefits that must be weighed for every pet relative to his lifestyle and health. Your veterinarian can determine a vaccination regime that will provide the safest and best protection for your individual animal (ASPCA,2023).

Core Vaccines: Core vaccines are considered vital to all pets based on risk of exposure, severity of disease, or transmissibility to humans.

Noncore Vaccines: Noncore vaccines are highly recommended on an individual basis for each pet, depending on their level of risk. Veterinarians will assess the animal's age, health, and lifestyle before making a decision. 

Core Vaccines Noncore Vaccines
Rabies Bordetella (dogs)
DHPP (aka DAPP or DA2PP): Distemper, hepatitis, adenovirus 2, parvovirus, and parainfluenza (dogs) Lyme Disease (dogs)
Feline Distemper: Feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (cats) Leptospirosis (dogs)
Canine Influenza (dogs)
Feline Leukemia (cats)

Residence Life: Rebecca Baird, Director, or 973-720-2714

Accessibility Resource Center: or 973-720-2853

Student Development: Eileen Lubeck, Psy.D., Dean of Students, or 973-720-2450