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Assistance Animal Guidelines

Loyola University Maryland (“Loyola” or “University”) is committed to making reasonable accommodations to provide individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing.  These Guidelines explain the specific requirements regarding requests for an Assistance/Emotional Support Animal in University housing.  Loyola reserves the right to amend these Guidelines as circumstances require. View the University’s Guidelines regarding Service Animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act.

The University’s housing policy prohibits pets in the residences with the exception of certain freshwater fish. Loyola will consider a request by an individual with a disability for an exception to this policy for an Assistance/Emotional Support Animal that is necessary because of a disability and is a reasonable accommodation.  However, no Assistance Animal may be kept in University housing at any time prior to the individual receiving approval as an accommodation pursuant to these Guidelines.

I.  Definitions

A.         Assistance Animals

“Assistance Animals” (sometimes called “emotional support animals” or “therapy animals”) may provide assistance, perform physical tasks, and/or provide emotional support to an individual with a disability.   Dogs or other types of animals, with or without training, can qualify as Assistance Animals if their presence is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use the residences.

B.         Owner

The “Owner” is the individual with a disability who has requested approval to bring an Assistance Animal into University housing.

C.         Disability and Accessibility Services

The Office of Disability and Accessibility Services (DAS) evaluates requests for accommodation and works to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to all Loyola programs and activities.

II.       Procedures for requesting Assistance Animals in University housing

To request approval for an Assistance Animal, Owners are responsible for registering with the DAS office. Review the process for registering for Disability and Accessibility Services. Additionally, a student requesting an assistance animal in University housing must provide documentation from a medical provider Before an animal is allowed on campus, form must be provided by the animal's veterinarian stating the animal has all vaccines and is in good health.

Please note, students requesting the accommodation of an assistance animal on campus should have their applications into DAS by February 1st (for returning students) and July 1st (for incoming students). DAS will accept applications for assistance animals after these dates, but cannot guarantee Residence Life & Housing will be able to find a room for the student and animal. Students will be placed on a wait list for a room to become available.

Supporting documentation for the requested accommodation should be recent and should explain the nexus between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides. This confidential information is maintained in the DAS office and not released without the student's signed consent. 

III.      Criteria for determining if the requested accommodation is reasonable

A.         University housing differs from other types of housing in several aspects including the assignment of roommates and the requirement that individuals share a room or suite in residence halls. Loyola will not limit room assignments for individuals with Assistance Animals to any particular building or buildings; however, Loyola reserves the right to take into account, as appropriate, any approved accommodations regarding Assistance Animals in assigning rooms and roommates

DAS will consult with Residence Life & Housing in making a determination on a case-by-case basis of whether the presence of an assistance animal is reasonable.  A request for an assistance/emotional support animal may be denied if the presence of the animal:

  1. Imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden;
  2. Fundamentally alters the nature of the University’s programs and services; 
  3. Poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others; or
  4. Would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including University property.

If the Owner believes he or she was denied a reasonable accommodation, the Owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in Loyola’s Harassment and Discrimination Guidelines and Procedures, and may appeal to Loyola University’s Section 504 Compliance Officer.

IV.      Access to University facilities by Assistance Animals

A.         University Spaces

An Assistance Animal must be contained within the privately assigned individual living accommodations of the Owner (e.g., room, suite, and apartment) except when taken out for natural relief.  When an Assistance Animal is outside the Owner’s living accommodations, it must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness. Assistance Animals are not allowed in any University facilities other than Owner’s assigned living accommodations and related common areas (hallways, etc.).

B.         Dominion and Control

The Assistance Animal must be properly restrained or otherwise under the dominion and control of the Owner at all times.  No Owner shall permit the animal to go loose or run at large. 

V.       Individual's responsibilities for Assistance Animal

If the University approves an individual’s request to have an Assistance Animal in University housing, the individual is solely responsible for the custody and care of the Assistance Animal and must meet the following requirements:

  1. The Owner must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the individual’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. The University reserves the right to request documentation of compliance with such requirements.
  2. All pets must be house-broken, litter box trained, or live in a contained habitat to minimize potential damage to housing units. 
  3. The Owner is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner and, when provided, must use animal relief areas designated by Loyola. Indoor waste and/or used litter must be disposed of in an outside trash dumpster. Litter boxes should be placed on a mat to minimize contamination of carpeted surfaces. Outdoor/solid waste must be immediately retrieved by the owner, placed in a plastic bag that is then securely tied, and disposed of in an outside dumpster.
  4. The Owner is required to ensure the animal is well cared for at all times. Any evidence of neglect, mistreatment or abuse may result in immediate removal of the Assistance Animal and/or discipline for the individual.
  5. The Owner may be charged for any damage caused by his or her Assistance Animal beyond reasonable wear and tear to the same extent that Loyola charges other individuals for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection of the Owner’s living accommodations, the residence will be treated using approved fumigation methods by a University-approved pest control service. The Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls.
  6. The Owner must fully cooperate with University personnel with regard to meeting the terms of these Guidelines and developing procedures for care of the animal (e.g., cleaning the animal, feeding/watering the animal, designating an outdoor relief area, disposing of feces, etc.).
  7. Assistance Animals may not be left alone for extended periods or overnight in University housing, or left to be cared for by any individual other than the Owner. If the Owner is to be absent from his/her residence hall overnight or longer, the Assistance Animal must accompany the Owner.
  8. The Owner is responsible for ensuring that the Assistance Animal is crated and contained, as appropriate, in the Owner's bedroom when the Owner is not present, day or night. This is necessary because facilities staff may need to enter the apartment during emergencies.
  9. The Owner agrees to abide by all equally applicable residential policies that are unrelated to the individual’s disability such as assuring that the Assistance Animal does not unduly interfere with or cause difficulties for individuals who reside there.
  10. The Assistance Animal is allowed in University housing only as long as necessary because of the Owner’s disability. The Owner must notify DAS in writing if the Assistance Animal is no longer needed or is no longer in residence. To request approval for a different Assistance Animal, the Owner must follow all of the procedures in these Guidelines.
  11. Loyola personnel shall not be required to provide care for any Assistance Animal including, but not limited to, removing the Assistance Animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. 
  12. The Owner will schedule an appointment with Facilities if repair work is to be performed in the Owner’s room. Loyola employees will not enter the room for requested service unless the Owner is present. Loyola staff members may have fears or allergies regardless of the size or type of animal. Therefore, the Owner is responsible for securing the Assistance Animal in a crate or room when maintenance or other University officials must enter the residence.
  13. DAS may disclose information regarding the University’s approval of the request for an Assistance Animal on a need-to-know basis.  Such disclosures will not include information related to the individual’s disability.
  14. The owner agrees to abide by the Fire Evacuation requirements outlined in the Community Standards. It is expected that a student will leash or crate their animal during a fire drill or alarm and evacuate with the animal within the same time frame as other students. Students cannot remain in the building to locate or contain the animal.
  15. The Owner agrees, as all students do, to abide by all other Loyola policies. Having an Assistance Animal does not excuse the Owner from compliance with the Loyola Community Standards or other policies regarding student responsibilities and conduct.

VI.      Removal of assistance animal

  1. The University may rescind approval of the accommodation and require the individual to remove the animal from University housing if the Owner fails to comply with these Guidelines or the accommodation otherwise is no longer reasonable.

Any removal of the animal will be done in consultation with the Disability and Accessibility Services office. Should the Assistance Animal be removed from University housing for any reason, the Owner is expected to fulfill his/her obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

VII.     Non-retaliation provision

Loyola will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in University housing, including a request for an Assistance Animal.

Acknowledgement and Release of Information Consent Form

I have read and understand the Assistance Animal Guidelines and I agree to abide by the requirements applicable to Owners of Assistance Animals. This agreement is for one academic year (fall and spring semesters).

I understand that if I fail to meet the requirements set forth in the Guidelines, Loyola has the right to remove the Assistance Animal and I will be nonetheless required to fulfill my housing, academic, and all other obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.

I furthermore give permission to the Disability and Accessibility Service office to disclose to others (e.g., Residence Life & Housing staff, Campus Police, Facilities staff, potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s)) that the presence of my Assistance Animal is an approved accommodation.


[1] It is important to note that animals that may be needed because of a disability may be identified by various names.  For example, an individual may identify the animal as a companion animal, therapy animal, or emotional support animal.

Revised 05/04/2023

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Excel is a virtual support group for students who have a disability or face learning challenges. Excel provides a space for students to discuss their unique challenges related to virtual learning and find support to navigate learning hurdles. Students will also be able to share resources, learn stress management skills, and discuss self-care.  Students do not need to be registered with Disability Support Services to join this group. Learn more about Excel and other support groups with the Counseling Center.