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Animals on Campus

Policy regarding Animals on Campus

Owner: Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Tags: Student Affairs

Teachers College Policy on Animals on Campus

(Including Service and Emotional Support Animals)

Teachers College generally prohibits animals in Campus buildings. However, the College recognizes the importance of Service and Emotional Support Animals for individuals with disabilities and has established this policy regarding Service Animals (and Service Animals in training) and Emotional Support Animals, to accommodate them.

Specific requirements and guidelines concerning Service and Emotional Support Animals are set out below. Teachers College reserves the right to amend this policy at any time. 

Please note that the keeping of dogs and other animals is also subject to federal, state and city laws, including Article 161 of the New York City Health Code, which prohibits the keeping of certain animals in New York City and sets certain licensing, vaccination and control requirements.

Section I.  Definitions

A. Service Animal

    • A dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. No other animal qualifies as a Service Animal.
    • The work or task of a Service Animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.
    • Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support are not Service Animals, but may qualify as Emotional Support Animals (discussed below).
    • Service Animals are permitted throughout campus with the exception of locations with health and safety restrictions (i.e. where the animals may be in danger, or where their use may compromise the integrity of research, such as custodial closets, boiler rooms, facility equipment rooms, and certain research laboratories).

B. Emotional Support Animal

    • Any animal that is specifically designated by a qualified and knowledgeable person as affording an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, provided there is a nexus between the individual’s disability and the assistance the animal provides.
    • Unlike a Service Animal, an Emotional Support Animal need not assist a person with activities of daily living, and does not accompany a person with a disability at all times.
    • Emotional Support Animals may be considered for access to College Housing, but are not permitted in other areas of the College.

C. Pet

    • An animal kept for ordinary companionship.
    • For purposes of this Policy, a Service or Emotional Support Animal is not a Pet. Residents may not keep Pets in TC housing except as specifically authorized under the housing policies.

D. Approved Animal

    • A Service Animal that is permitted on campus or an Emotional Support Animal that is permitted in TC housing as a reasonable accommodation under this policy. 

E. Owner 

    •  An individual (who may be a student, a member of faculty/staff, an affiliate residing in housing, or a visitor) with a disability who brings an Approved Animal on campus.

 

Section II.  Procedures for Service Animals in Campus Housing

Service animals are welcome in most parts of the College. Owners planning to bring Service Animals to reside in College housing are asked to follow the Reasonable Accommodation Policy for Campus Housing to allow the College to properly accommodate their animals and appropriately consider the needs of other residents who may suffer from allergies or otherwise need to limit contact with animals.

Section III.  Procedures for Emotional Support Animals in Campus Housing

Owners planning to bring Emotional Support Animals to reside in Campus Housing are required to follow these steps:

  1. Owners seeking permission to keep an Emotional Support Animal in College Housing must firstregister with the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) and provide the appropriate documentation establishing them as an individual with a disability, as outlined on the OASID website (https://www.tc.columbia.edu/oasid).
  2. Documentation of the need for an Emotional Support Animal should be current -- dated withinthe last 6 months -- and should generally include the following information:
    • Verification of the individual’s disability from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, orother mental health professional
    • Description of how the animal serves as an accommodation for the verified disability, and
    • Description of how the need for the animal relates to the individual’s ability to use andenjoy the living arrangements provided by the College.
  3. Owners requesting approval to house an Emotional Support Animal must meet with OASID for anintake appointment and to review the requirements and responsibilities applicable to the Owners housing Emotional Support Animals. Owners are required to schedule this meeting.
  4. Owners whose request for an Emotional Support Animal is not granted through this process mayappeal that decision to the College’s Section 504 Compliance Officer and will be provided with procedures to do so.

Section IV.  Conflicting Health Conditions

Students with medical condition(s) affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) should contact OASID if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to a Service or Emotional Support Animal or need reasonable accommodations relating to others’ Service or Emotional Support Animals.

Housing personnel will make a reasonable effort to notify tenants in College housing where the Approved Animal will be located. Owners and their roommates/suitemates will be required to sign a consent form agreeing to the animal’s presence in the residence.

OASID along with Residential Services staff will work to try to resolve any conflict as a result of the presence of an Approved Animal in a timely manner. Staff members will consider the conflicting needs and/or accommodation requests of all persons involved.

Section V.  Owner’s Responsibilities

  1. The Owner is responsible for complying with the Care and Supervision requirements discussedbelow and ensuring that the Approved Animal does not unduly interfere with the activities of the residence or other residents.
  2. The Owner is responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal, including any injury to personsor damage to property.
  3. The Owner must notify OASID in writing if the Approved Animal is no longer needed or is nolonger in residence.
  4. An Owner who wishes to bring a new Approved Animal to campus must notify OASID at leasttwo weeks before bringing a different animal into College Housing.
  5. If an animal is to be kept in College housing, all roommates or suitemates of the Owner must signa consent form allowing the Approved Animal to be in residence with them. In the event that one or more roommate or suitemate does not approve, either the owner and animal or the non-approving roommates or suitemates, as determined by Residential Life, may be moved to a different location.
  6. Service Animals are generally permitted throughout campus; Emotional Support Animals must bekept within the privately assigned residential area (room, suite, apartment), except when being transported in an animal carrier or on a leash to exit or enter the residence hall.
  7. Approved Animals may not be left overnight in College Housing without their owners.

Any violation of these rules may result in removal of the animal from the College with 48 hours notice to the owner.  An Owner may appeal the decision to remove an animal with the College’s Section 504 Compliance Officer and will be provided with procedures to do so.

Section VI.  Guidelines for Maintaining an Approved Animal at Teachers College

A. Introduction 

These guidelines apply to all Approved Animals and their Owners, unless the nature of the documented disability of the Owner precludes adherence to these guidelines, and permission for a variance from the guidelines has been granted by OASID.

B. Care and Supervision

The Owner is responsible for the care and supervision of the animal and must maintain control of the animal at all times.

The Owner is also responsible for ensuring the cleanup of the animal's waste and, when appropriate, must toilet the animal in areas designated by the College consistent with the reasonable capacity of the Owner. Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied before being disposed of. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto carpeted surfaces.

C. Animal Health and Well-being

  1. Vaccination: In accordance with local law, the animal must be immunized against diseasescommon to that type of animal. Dogs must have current vaccinations against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag.
  2. Health: Animals other than cats and dogs must have an annual clean bill of health (i.e. the animalhas received all annual vaccinations) from a licensed veterinarian. Documentation can be a vaccination certificate for the animal or a veterinarian's statement regarding the animal's health. The College has authority to direct that the animal receive veterinary attention.
  3. Pests: The College may inspect the Owner's residence for fleas, ticks or other pests and mayrequire pest treatment. The Owner is responsible for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls.
  4. Licensing: New York law requires that dogs be licensed and have a license tag attached to theircollars when in public. The College reserves the right to request documentation of the dog’s license.
  5. Leash: Dogs must be on a leash when in public unless the leash would inhibit the animal's abilityto be of service.
  6. Other Conditions: OASID may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on animalsdepending on the nature and characteristics of the animal.

D. Guidelines for Faculty, Staff, Students, and Other Members of the College Community

  1. All members of the College community must allow Service Animals to accompany their Ownersat all times and in all places on campus, except where animals are specifically prohibited because of health and safety restrictions.
  2. All members of the community should interact with Owners and their Animals respectfully andappropriately.
    • Do not treat Service or Emotional Support Animals as an excuse to ask about the owner's disabilities. The nature of a person's disability is a private matter.

    • Do not touch or pet a Service or Emotional Support Animal unless invited to do so by its Owner. Interactions may interfere with the Animal’s work.

    •  Do not feed a Service or Emotional Support Animal unless requested by the Owner.

    •  Do not deliberately startle a Service or Emotional Support Animal.

    •  Do not separate or attempt to separate an Owner from his or her Service or Emotional Support Animal.

  3. Members of the College Community may contact OASID at 212-678-3689 or oasid@tc.columbia.edu with any questions or concerns regarding a Service or Emotional Support Animal.

E. Removal of Approved Animal 

The College may exclude or remove any animal unless the animal is on-campus as permitted under this policy. The College may exclude/remove an Approved Animal if:

  1. The animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others,
  2. The animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of the College's programs or activities,
  3. The owner does not comply with Owner’s Responsibilities, or
  4. The animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference.

If the Approved Animal causes a problem such that it needs to be removed from College housing, Residential Services will give the occupant the option of removing the animal or vacating the residence.  If the occupant vacates the residence, Residential Services will prorate the housing charge. Residents found with an unauthorized pet must remove the pet and will not be released from their housing contract.

I have read the Teachers College Policy on Animals on Campus and will comply with it.  I will not bring an Emotional Support Animal onto Campus until I am authorized to do so. I understand that I am responsible for complying with Guidelines applicable to my Service or Emotional Support Animal and that I am responsible for any injury or damage caused by an Approved Animal.

_______________________________

____________________

Owner Signature

Date

_______________________________

_____________________

OASID Representative

Date

_______________________________

_____________________

Housing Representative

Date

Animal Registration Form

Owner’s Name:

Owner’s UNI:

Owner’s Address:

Owner’s Phone:

Owner’s Work Phone:

Animal’s Name:

Type of Animal:

Physical Description of Animal:

Please attach the Veterinarian’s verification that the animal has all Veterinary-recommended vaccinations to maintain the animal’s health and prevent contagious disease. Also include a copy of New York’s required animal license (for dogs only).

 

ESA Acknowledgement and Release of Information Consent Form

By my signature below, I verify that I have read and understand the Teachers College Policy on Animals on Campus, and I agree to abide by the requirements applicable to Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). I understand that if I fail to meet the requirements set forth in the Policy, Teachers College has the right to remove the ESA with 48 hours notice, and I will be required to fulfill my housing, academic and all other obligations under the remainder of my housing contract.[1]

I furthermore give permission to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities to disclose to others impacted by the presence of my ESA (e.g., Residential Services staff, potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s), maintenance staff, etc.) that I will be living with an animal as an accommodation. I understand that this information will be shared with the intent of preparing for the presence of the ESA and/or resolving any potential concerns associated with the presence of the ESA.

I further recognize that the presence of the ESA may be noticed by others visiting or residing in Teachers College housing and agree that Residential Services staff may acknowledge the presence of the animal and explain that, under certain circumstances, animals are permitted for individuals with disabilities in Teachers College housing.

Signatures:

____________________________

____________________

ESA Owner

Date

____________________________

____________________

OASID Staff

Date

 

[1] If the approved animal causes a problem such that it needs to be removed, Residential Services will give the occupant the option of removing the animal or vacating the residence.  If the occupant vacates the residence, Residential Services will prorate the housing charge. Residents found with an unauthorized pet must remove the pet and will not be released from their housing contract.

 

ROOMMATE/SUITEMATE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

By my signature below, I understand that I will share the common areas of my assigned residential living/housing space with the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) approved by this agreement. I am aware that the ESA owner is solely responsible for the care and supervision of the ESA and must maintain control (as defined in the Animal on Campus Policy) of the ESA  at all times. Should I have any concerns regarding the care and control of the approved ESA, I will discuss my concerns with the approved ESA owner and then with the Office of Residential Services at 212-678-3235 or housing@tc.columbia.edu if the approved ESA owner and I cannot resolve our concerns.

Please note that Emotional Support Animals are provided to individuals with disabilities as a disability related accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Roommate’s Printed Name                                            Signature                                            Date

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Suitemate’s Printed Name                                              Signature                                            Date

Approved type of ESA: _____________________

 

Responsible Office: Vice Provost for Student Affairs 

Effective Date: June 6, 2022

Last Updated: June 6, 2022

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