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Academic Policies - Disabilities - Policy on Therapy Animals

Student Handbook - Disabilities


Policy On Therapy Animals

Definition of a Therapy Animal

A Therapy Animal is defined as an animal that is necessary for the individual to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. There must be a relationship, or nexus, between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. 

A healthcare or mental health professional prescribes a therapy animal to an individual with a disability.  Therapy Animals are an integral part of a person’s treatment process to assist in alleviating the symptoms of an individual’s disability.  They are not service animals and do not accompany the individual at all times. Therapy animals are only permitted in the assigned residential room and outdoor spaces and under the proper handling.  Therapy animals are not permitted in other campus buildings. When transported outside the private residence the anima must be on a leash or harness or in a carrier. 

Procedures

  • Register with Accommodative Services which includes submitting adequate and current documentation (within six months) of the disability and the need for a Therapy Animal.
  • Documentation should include verification of disability from medical specialist or mental health professional. 
  • Information on how the animal serves as an accommodation and how it relates to the ability of the student to use and enjoy the living arrangements provided through College housing. Connecting the need for a Therapy Animal to a diagnosis and how it relates to treatment. 

Review and Approval

The Accommodative Housing Committee will review the documentation and the student will be notified of the decision.  Should approval be granted, the student should meet with the Office of Residential Life and Accommodative Services to review the Owner/Handlers’ Responsibilities.  At this time the student will need to provide a Veterinarian’s verification that the animal has all the recommended vaccinations to maintain the animal’s health and prevent contagious disease, as well as, a copy of the animal's registration from the town/state in which it was registered. The student must also provide contact information of an individual who will be responsible for the animal in the event that the student is absent or unavailable. This cannot be another student residing on-campus.

A Therapy animal should not be brought to campus until approved and the student has had the meeting with Residential Life and Accommodative Services.

Please note the student must petition for this approval each academic year.

Upon approval, the roommate(s) will be notified and an acknowledgement of their acceptance will be requested. Residential Life will notify residents of the house where the approved animal will be residing. 

Conflicting Disabilities

Students with medical conditions that are affected by animals are asked to contact the Accommodative Services Office if they have a health or safety concern about exposure to the animal. The College will make arrangements to accommodate individuals with such medical conditions. 

(UCONN Disabilities Policy --2013)


Owner/Handler's Responsibilities and Guidelines for Having a Service or Therapy Animal on Campus

  • The owner/handler, not the College or another student, is responsible for the care and conduct of their animal.
  • The owner/ handler must abide by all state and local laws regarding animals.
  • Animals must be kept clean, healthy and under control of the owner/handler at all times.
  • Animals and their accoutrements (e.g. heat lamp) must not pose a direct threat to the safety of others.
  • The owner/handler is responsible for removal and proper disposal of the animal’s waste. Removal must be immediate. The animal’s waste must be removed into a proper receptacle.  Individuals unable to clean up after their animals or who need assistance should notify Accommodative Services so that alternative arrangements may be agreed upon. If an animal urinates or defecates inside of a building, or in another area that requires cleaning or maintenance, the owner must notify Facilities Office and will be responsible for the cost of such cleaning.
  • Animals must sleep in the owner/handler's room.
  • Animals must not make excessive noise or display behavior that will disrupt other community members.
  • The College is not responsible for an animal during a fire alarm, fire drill, or natural disaster.
  • An animal cannot be left alone for more than 24 hours.
  • The owner/handler is subject to charge for damage caused by the animal in the same manner as community members are charged for damage that is caused by an individual.
  • The owner/handler is responsible for any financial charges for bodily injury caused by the animal to any individual, including the owner/handler.
  • The owner/handler must notify Accommodative Services in writing if the animal is no longer needed in residence. To replace a Service Animal the student must file a new Registration form.  To replace a Therapy Animal the student must file a new petition to the Committee on Special Housing.
  • An approval for a Therapy Animal is good only for the academic year in which it has been approved.  A petition for a Therapy Animal must be submitted  for each academic year.
  • Service Animals, not Therapy Animals, are generally allowed on campus anywhere it is safe for them to be. After consultation with the owner/handler, the College may determine if there are any parameters necessary regarding where a service animal is allowed on campus. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered.