Animals defined strictly as pets are not allowed to live on campus in the residence halls or apartment buildings that are controlled by the Valley City State University. 


Valley City State University will follow the policies and recommendations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968.

Valley City State University (VCSU) is committed to making reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. Students with disabilities who require the use of “Service” or “Assistance” animals as a reasonable accommodation may be permitted to bring such animals on campus provided that they comply with Valley City State University’s policies and procedures regarding such animals. 

A.   The following policy will be followed in making decisions about Emotional Support Animals (ESA). 

1.    Students who are seeking to bring an Emotional Support Animal to campus must first contact the Disability Support Services and Testing Coordinator.

2.    Students will need to provide specific documentation pertaining to the request before the final decision is made. The Disability Support Services and Testing Coordinator, in collaboration with Director of Counseling Services, and Director of Residence Life will review each request on a case by case basis.

3.    The animal MUST NOT be in residence prior to approval per this policy. The approval of a request is specific to each animal and is not transferable to another animal. Animals present in the residence hall prior to approval will be denied approval for that academic year.  

4.    Students who are requesting an accommodation of an Emotional Support Animal must reapply with the Disability Support Services and Testing Coordinator each academic year.

B.   Service Animal

1.    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.  Miniature horses may be considered Service Animals in some cases.  Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not Service Animals.  The work or task of a Service Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the functional limitations of the person’s disability.

2.    Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as Service Animals.  In general, a Service Animal is allowed on campus anywhere it is safe for them to be. 

C.   Emotional Support Animal

1.    Emotional support animals are animals that provide emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of an individual’s diagnosis. Emotional Support Animals are prescribed to an individual with a diagnosis by a healthcare professional or mental health professional.  Emotional Support Animals are an integral part of a person’s treatment process to assist in alleviating the symptoms of an individual’s diagnosis. Species other than dogs or domestic cats will be considered on a case by case basis.

2.    Emotional Animals are not Service Animals and do not accompany an individual at all times.  Emotional Support Animals are only to be permitted in the individual’s assigned living space, and outdoor spaces, if appropriate, under the proper handling.  These animals are not allowed in any other campus buildings.  Students living off campus should note that Emotional Support Animals ARE NOT allowed in campus buildings.

3.    Emotional Support Animals must be a minimum age of one year. Animals less than one year old may be considered on an individual basis. 

4.    Emotional Support Animals must be managed through voice commands or similar techniques.

D.   Emotional Support Animal Procedures

1.    A student who is living in on-campus housing (residence halls or apartments) must make a formal request to the Director of Student Academic Services for an accommodation.  To make this formal request, the student must submit a completed Disability Support Services Form. Animals present in the residence hall prior to approval will be denied approval for that academic year.  

2.    The university requires documentation of a relevant disability or diagnosis documentation to evaluate the potential need for an Emotional Support Animal, while considering the reasonableness of the requested accommodation.  

3.    The review process may take up to 30 days upon receiving completed forms and documentation.  This time-frame will allow for the Director of Student Academic Services, in collaboration with the Director of Residence Life, and the Director of Counseling Services to make the appropriate accommodations for the requesting student. 

4.    A request may be denied for approval for an Emotional Support Animal if an accommodation is unreasonable.  An accommodation is unreasonable if it presents an undue financial or administrative burden on the University or poses a substantial and direct threat to the personal or public safety or to the property of others or constitutes a fundamental alteration of the nature of the service or program.

5.    A student’s Valley City State University judicial record may affect the student’s ability to effectively control and provide a safe environment for the Emotional Support Animal, therefore resulting in denial. A written decision will be sent to the student.

6.    A student receiving a denial of their request for an Emotional Support Animal may appeal the decision, in writing, to the Vice President for Student Affairs, within five business days.  The decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs is final.

7.    Upon approval for an Emotional Support Animal, the requesting student will be required to sign an Emotional Support Animal Agreement with the Resident Life Office.  The Emotional Support Animal Agreement form includes provisions to the above policy that the student must adhere to in order to maintain the approval.

8.    If an Emotional Support Animal request is granted, the Director of Residence Life will make a reasonable effort to notify the other residents of the building that an Emotional Support Animal will be in the building. There will be no disclosure of the student’s disability/diagnosis.  

9.    Students who may be adversely affected by animals (i.e. respiratory disease, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Director of Academic Services and/or the Director of Residence Life offices if they are concerned about exposure to an Emotional Support Animal. Affected students may be eligible for an accommodation when living in the proximity to an Emotional Support Animal. 

10.    The Disabilities Support Services and Testing Coordinator; the Director of Residence Life; and the Director of Counseling Services will collaborate, as needed to help resolve any conflicts related to an Emotional Support Animal. 

11.    All roommates and/or suite-mates of the animal’s owner must sign an agreement acknowledging that the Emotional Support Animal will be living in the residence with them. If one or more roommate or suite-mate does not approve of the Assistance Animal, then either the owner of the Emotional Support Animal, or the non-approving roommate(s) or suite-mate(s), may be allowed to move to another location, as determined by the Director of Residence Life without financial burden due to on-campus relocation. 

12.    Upon the finding of an Emotional Support Animal owner to be in violation of the Emotional Support Animal Agreement, the Emotional Support Animal may be removed from University Housing. Animals must be removed from campus property within 72 hours of notification.

E.   Owner Responsibilities: The owner of the Emotional Support Animal is expected to accept the following responsibilities

1.    Comply with applicable Local, State, and Federal Laws concerning the ownership of an animal.

2.    The owner, not the university or another student/resident, is responsible for the care and conduct of the animal. 

3.    Animals must be kept clean, healthy, and under the control of the owner at all times.

4.    All required immunizations must be kept up to date and a copy of the immunizations must be on file with the Residence Life Office. 

5.    If an animal is to be licensed, then a copy of the license must be on file with the Residence Life Office. 

6.    The handler must adhere to any and all Valley City licensing and animal tag policies. 

7.    Dogs or Cats must wear a collar with appropriate tags (i.e. vaccinations, contact information, license) at all times. 

8.    Animals must possess friendly and sociable characteristics with proven positive demeanor. Some specific animals can be restricted from the premises by the Director of Residence Life based on any confirmed or territorial behavior. 

9.    Animals and their accouterments (i.e. Heat Lamp) must not pose a direct threat to the safety of others. 

10.    The owner is responsible for prompt clean up and appropriate disposal of the animal’s waste. No waste is to be disposed on in any trash receptacle inside any building, or through any sewer system inside each building (sinks and toilets). Outside dumpsters should be used.

11.    Owners with cats must properly maintain litter boxes. In consideration of the health of the cat and the occupants of the apartment or residence hall room, cat litter box contents must be changed with new litter regularly in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. 

12.    Animals must sleep in owner’s room or apartment. VCSU can inspect the residence on a regular basis to determine if there is infestation or other damages to the property. 

13.    Animals must not be disruptive to other students including, but not limited to, excessive noise.

14.    Valley City State University is not responsible for an animal during a fire alarm, fire drill, or natural disaster/building emergency. 

15.    An animal cannot be left alone for more than 24 hours. Owner is responsible for finding appropriate off-campus accommodations for the animal when they will be leaving for a period of more than 24 hours. The animal may not be left with any on-campus resident for care in your absence.

16.    The owner is responsible for any bodily injury or damaged caused by the animal to any individual and is also responsible for the subsequent charges. 

17.    The owner must notify the Director of Residence Life and/or the Director of Student Academic Services, in writing, when the animal is no longer needed in the residence. 

18.    If the owner is seeking to replace an Emotional Support Animal with another, the student must file a new Registration form and file a new request with the Director of Student Academic Services. 

19.    Animals must always be under the owner’s control. This includes, all animals are to be on a leash with a limit length of 6’ or up to 20’ if on a retractable leash, harness, or within a carrier device at all times when outside of the designated living quarters.

20.    Emotional Support Animals are only allowed to be in the privately assigned residential room or apartment and outdoor areas as approved by the University Housing Office.

21.    It is the owner’s responsibility to keep a dog or cat on flea and tick control. The owner will be responsible for the cost of eliminating any pest infestation as a result of the animal. The university will contract an appropriate pest control company and bill the student directly if there is a problem.

22.    When a student and/or animal vacates the resident room or apartment at the end of their contract period, the university will inspect and clean the unit.  The owner will be billed appropriate cleaning charges.

23.    Failure to comply with any of the above policies may result in the removal of the animal and the owner of the animal.

24.    Student must have owned the ESA for a minimum of 3 months with proven benefits to well-being of the student.


Sponsor:  Director of Counseling Services

Effective:  December 2015

Effective:  April 2018

Effective: March 2020