LSSU Campus Life and Housing – Emotional Support Animal Policy

An Emotional Support Animal is a pet that has been prescribed by a licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist as part of a treatment program. Therapists prescribing an Emotional Assistance Animal must have extensive knowledge of research supporting the use of the Emotional Assistance Animal and utilize the Emotional Assistance Animal as a treatment modality. Before receiving documentation for the recommendation of an Emotional Assistance Animal, a student must be engaged in on-going therapy with a mental health provider and the Emotional Assistance Animal must be identified as an essential treatment for the student’s diagnosed emotional or psychiatric disability. Most students will not meet all of these criteria.

The University Health Services (Counseling Center and Health Care Center) staff does not generally provide letters recommending emotional assistance animals.

Lake Superior State University (LSSU) provides reasonable accommodations to University housing residents with a documented disability. This policy governs the use of assistance animals in University housing. Service animals are defined by the University Service Animal Policy and users shall follow that policy. LSSU reserves the right to amend this policy as circumstances require or as the law changes.

Collaborating to provide opportunities for student learning and success through inclusive residential communities and experiences.

Additional Resources:

Psychology Today

Americans with Disabilities Act

POLICY STATEMENT

Lake Superior State University (LSSU) is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with diagnosed disabilities and fulfilling obligations under State and Federal laws. This Policy governs the use of Assistance animals in campus housing by persons with disabilities.

The health and safety of LSSU students, faculty and staff and the Assistance animal are important concerns; therefore, each request for such an accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Requests for an accommodation regarding Assistance animals should be supported by sufficient information and documentation for proper consideration of the request.

LSSU shall not allow an animal:

  • that poses a threat to the health or safety of others, which cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation;
  • would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others, which cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation;
  • poses an undue financial and administrative burden; or
  • would fundamentally alter the nature of housing operations.

In all cases, the owner of the animal is responsible for the animal’s behavior. The removal of any animal, and any necessary cleaning, repairs and/or pest control will be done at the expense of the student.  Students living with an Assistance animal will be expected to adhere to the same housing policies as all other residents.

Assistance animals cannot be brought into University housing prior to approval of the Accessibility Services Coordinator and the Associate Director of Campus Life and Housing.  All students who are approved for an Assistance Animal must participate in an orientation meeting with the Accessibility Services Coordinator and the Associate Director of Campus Life and Housing.

DEFINITIONS

  1. Service Animal – The University recognizes “Service Animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAA). Pursuant to that law, a service animal is defined as any 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.

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler’s disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

  1. Assistance Animal – The University recognizes the broader category of “Assistance Animals” under the Fair Housing Act that provides physical and/or emotional support to individuals with disabilities. “Assistance Animals” are defined as a category of animals that may work, provide assistance, or perform physical tasks for an individual with a disability and/or provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the ADAAA.

GUIDELINES FOR AN ASSISTANCE ANIMAL

  1. A resident desiring the use of an assistance animal in University Housing must be fully registered with the LSSU Office of Accessibility Services at least 30 days before requesting housing for the assistance animal. Use of an assistance animal must be identified by the LSSU Office of Accessibility Services as an accommodation required by the identified needs of the student.  Students must certify their need for a service animal with the LSSU Office of Accessibility Services every year. A petition for the housing of an assistance animal must be filed with the LSSU Campus Life and Housing Office every academic year.
  2. Students must notify Accessibility Services of the need for an assistance animal no less than 30 days after receiving their housing assignment in order to ensure that roommate agreements and conflicting disabilities will not delay approval. Each request for a service animal will be reviewed on an individual basis.
  3. It is the responsibility of the student to provide appropriate documentation of the need for an assistance animal as an accommodation.

ASSISTANCE ANIMAL PROCEDURES FOR APPROVAL

  1. A student desiring the use of an assistance animal in University Housing must identify and register with Accessibility Services at least 30 days before housing for the animal is needed.  The requesting student shall provide documentation of a disability in accordance with the policies of the LSSU Accessibility Services Office. Guidelines for documentation can be found by contacting the Accessibility Services Coordinator. LSSU reserves the right to request additional clarification or documentation. Please note that students must petition for service animal accommodation each academic year with Accessibility Services and the Campus Life and Housing Office.
  2. Each request will be reviewed on an individual basis. The student will be notified by the Accessibility Services and/or a Campus Life and Housing Office representative of the outcome of the service animal application. Where the accommodation has been approved, Accessibility Services and Campus Life and Housing will work with the resident and campus officials to facilitate a supportive network.
  3. It is the responsibility of the student to provide appropriate documentation when and as requested. Should approval be granted, the student will be asked to read and adhere to the Responsibilities and Guidelines for having a Service or Assistance Animal in University Housing.

APPROVAL PROCESS

  1.  Documentation of a disability must be submitted to the LSSU Office of Accessibility Services by completing the Accessibility Services Medical Documentation Form.
  2.  Completion of the LSSU Office of Accessibility Services Service/Assistance Animal Request Form must be submitted.  The University reserves the right to request additional clarification or documentation.
  3.  Complete application for an assistance animal submitted to Campus Life and Housing.  Complete the forms required by Accessibility Services.
  4.  A signed letter, on professional letterhead, from the student’s health care provider stating:
  • The nature of the disabling condition or impairment; and
  • The provider’s professional opinion regarding the relationship between the disability and the use of an assistance animal to accommodate the identified condition.  The University reserves the right to request additional clarification or documentation.
  1.  LSSU Accessibility Services will review and approve the student’s need for accommodations.  LSSU Accessibility Services will work with the student and campus officials including the Campus Life and Housing Office, to facilitate a supportive network for the student.
  2.  Once the use of an assistance animal is identified by Accessibility Services as an accommodation required by the student, the Accessibility Services office will send an affirmation memo to the LSSU Campus Life and Housing Office.  The Campus Life and Housing Office will determine the availability of space, which can accommodate the student and the assistance animal.

All requests to have an assistance animal in campus housing is considered an accommodation request and reviewed on an individual basis.  Individuals requesting the accommodation of a service animal must establish that they both experience a documented disability and that the assistance animal requested provides essential therapeutic benefit related to the documented disability.

Note:  The University may deny a request for an assistance animal in housing if the presence of the animal:

  1. Poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others;
  2. Would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others;
  3. Would pose an undue financial and administrative burden; or
  4. Would fundamentally alter the nature of housing operations.

The University considers the following factors in determining whether to approve the presence of an Assistance Animal in housing:

  1. The size of the animal and whether it is too large for available assigned housing space;
  2. Whether the animal’s presence would force another individual from individual housing (e.g., serious allergies);
  3. Whether the animal’s presence would otherwise violate individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment of their dwelling;
  4. Whether the animal is housebroken and able to live with others in a reasonable manner;
  5. Whether the animal’s vaccinations are up to date;
  6. Whether the animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others, such as injuring or acting aggressively; and
  7. Whether the animal causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear.

APPEAL PROCESS

Any individual wishing to challenge determinations reached in the accommodation application process, such as disability determination, appropriateness of an accommodation, or an animal restriction, should first contact Accessibility Services. If the matter is not resolved, a request for dispute resolution should be submitted to Accessibility Services. Individuals may also file a written complaint to the Accessibility Services Office, Megan Norman, 906-635-2355.

OTHER PROVISIONS

ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

  1. Vaccinations: In accordance with applicable local, state and federal laws, the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs must have a current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag. Although not mandated, cats should have the normal shots required for a healthy animal. Local licensing requirements are to be followed.
  2. Health: Animals, other than cats and dogs, to be housed in University housing must have an annual clean bill of health from a Michigan licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health. The University has authority to direct that the animal receives veterinary attention. (Local licensing law is followed.)
  3. Licensing: The University reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed and to have the animal inspected by a licensed Michigan veterinarian of its choosing (e.g., Michigan law requires that every dog be licensed and provides that service dogs are exempt from the license fee).
  4. Other Conditions: Accessibility Services and/or Campus Life and Housing may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the animals depending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.
  5.  Assistance and service animals are required to be at least 12 months of age unless an exception to this requirement has been approved by the University.

LSSU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to housing residents with a documented disability.

LSSU reserves the right to make amendments to the policy when needed.

To request special accommodations, in addition to filling out the housing application, it is required that you register with the LSSU Office of Accessibility Services. The coordinator of the Accessibility Services will verify your disability and advise housing staff of appropriate accommodation. Housing staff will facilitate the housing accommodation based on application date and availability. Questions about accessible student housing may be directed to Sharmay Wood (smwood@lssu.edu), Director of Campus Life and Laker Success.

ESA Agreement (PDF)
ESA Policy (PDF)