Animals in Residence Halls

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Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

  Spelman College does not permit pets in the residence halls.

There are circumstances, when a student has a medical or emotional need for an animal when Spelman will permit the residency.  The laws that govern these exceptions fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.  Under these laws, certain animals are permitted in the residence halls as assistive animals.   Assistive animals may be either a service animal or an emotional support animal (ESA).

A Service Animal is any dog that is trained individually to do work or perform tasks for persons with disabilities (including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, and other mental disabilities). Other species of animals are not considered Service Animals under federal law.  Given the nature of its role, a Service Animal is not restricted to its owner’s personal room and may accompany a resident throughout the residence hall and in other campus buildings.

An Emotional Support Animal is one that is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to enjoy university housing.  ESA’s are not considered service animals under ADA, because they have not been trained to perform disability-related work or tasks.  An ESA may provide emotional support, calming, stability, and other kinds of assistance.  An ESA is only permitted in the approved student’s assigned residence hall room.

Verifying Documentation

The Spelman College Student Access Center manages the process of verifying documentation and communicating approval for a student to have an assistive animal.   No animal may assume residency in Spelman College residence halls before reviewing all guidelines governing assistive animals and providing information about the animal to the Office of Housing & Residence Life.

Once approved by the Student Access Center, the student must meet with the Housing Operations Coordinator to review and sign the Spelman Resident Agreement for Approved Animals and provide the following:

  • Animal Information and Emergency Contact form
  • Animal Record of Vaccination and Good Health

If the student is assigned with a roommate/suitemate, this individual will be contacted to discuss living with an animal and sign the Roommate Acknowledgement of Approved Animal form.  An animal will only be approved to begin residence after this process is completed and all appropriate documentation and forms have been signed by the student and any assigned roommates.

General Information about Animals in Residence