Richmond Home

Service and Emotional Support Animals

Please note that the approval of an Emotional Support or Service Animal may not result in a single room accommodation in regards to Housing assignments.  

Service Animals

Any student with a disability shall be permitted to have his or her Service Animal accompany him or her  to all campus facilities that are generally open to students, faculty and staff, including residence halls. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals. Should the student wish to bring their Service Animal, they must submit an Accommodation Request Form to register the Animal with Disability Services 30 days proir to the animal arriving on campus. 

A Service Animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, or providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities.

When it is not readily apparent that the dog is a Service Animal, the Disability Advisor may ask two questions:

  • Whether the individual has a disability; and
  • Whether the individual have a disability-related need for the Service Animal, meaning does the Service Animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or service for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates on or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the individual’s disability.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

As explained below, a student, faculty or staff member living in on-campus housing, may be permitted to have an emotional support animal reside with him or her if the presence of such ESA constitutes a reasonable accommodation for such individual’s disability. Emotional Support Animals are prohibited from all campus facilities except the owners’ on-campus residence. Should the student wish to bring their Emotional Support Animal, they must submit an Accommodation Request Form and provide supporting documentation detailing the need for the animal to register the Animal with Disability Services 30 days proir to the animal arriving on campus. 

An ESA is defined as an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a student’s disability. Examples of work, tasks or assistance provided by an Assistance Animal include: providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair,  alerting persons to impending seizures, or providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support.  The work or task an Emotional Support Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the owner’s disability or, in the case of emotional support, to one or more symptoms or effects of such disability.  Emotional Support Animals are not pets. 

Student Handler’s Responsibility

It is the student’s responsibility to care for the animal at all times. Under no circumstance may the student leave the animal in the care of another university student, faculty, or staff member. Once approved for the Service or Emotional Support Animal the student must provide an emergency contact of a nearby person or preferred local Boarding Service that will care for the dog in-case of emergency or unforeseen circumstance where the owner cannot render care.

The institution has the right to ask the animal to be removed from the premises if the Service or Emotional Support Animal:

  • Exhibits aggressive behavior
  • Physically harms another student, faculty, or staff member
  • Is constantly disruptive, unrelated to the work or task being performed for the owner
  • Causes excessive damage to University property- at which time the student will be financially responsible for any damage

The institution also has the right to ask the animal to be removed from the premises if the Owner of the Emotional Support or Service Animal:

  • Does not provide proper care and grooming for the animal
  • Does not pick-up after animal when it releases any waste on campus grounds
  • Leaves the animal unattended for several days