An emotional support animal (ESA) is a companion animal which provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of the disability, to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support animals are typically dogs and cats, but may include other animals. This is different than service animals, which are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Emotional Support Animal requests must be approved by the Disability Resource Center and be verified by the physician and DRC before they can be brought to campus as an ESA. Any animal not approved and found on campus will be removed.
Individuals who wish to have an emotional support animal (ESA) in their on-campus residence room should complete this form and provide the required documentation where indicated. Below is additional information regarding the appropriate required documentation.
Documentation: It should be completed by a qualified professional with direct experience working with the student and has been involved in ongoing treatment sufficient to determine that an ESA will substantially relieve one or more symptoms of the student’s condition while living in the residence halls, which are otherwise pet-free.
Please be aware that documentation procured by participating in a conversation with an internet-based provider with whom the student does not otherwise have a clinical relationship may not be sufficient documentation. Additionally, a one-time visit with a provider may not provide sufficient information. According to guidance issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (2020), “such documentation from the Internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.” (p. 10).
This form should also be completed when there are any changes to information regarding a previously approved ESA. The completed form should be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the start of the date in which the ESA is due to arrive on campus. Any questions should be directed to the Disability Resource Center, 501-916-3143, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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