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Animal Guidelines

Shepherd University is dedicated to making reasonable accommodations to afford students with disabilities equal opportunity to use and enjoy University housing. The Emotional Support Animal Policy  and Service Animal Policy Forms provide guidelines for Shepherd University students who maintain assistance animals in Shepherd University managed residence facilities. If there are questions concerning these guidelines, you may reach the Office of Disability Support Services at 304-876-5122 or the Office of Residence Life at 304-876-5172.

Complete a Support Animal Policy here: Support Animal Policy

Complete a Service Animal Policy here: Service Animal Policy

Note: Established Disability Support Services and Residence Life housing procedures and deadlines are still relevant to students who keep assistance animals in their University residence. This includes, but is not limited to, availability or rooms, room assignments, and fees.


Assistance Animals: Assistance Animals is an overarching term that includes both Services Animals and Support Animals. This term does not include Pets.

Service Animals: Any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability and meets the definition of “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The task or work a service animal has been trained to do must directly relate to the individual’s disability. Examples include, but are not limited to: assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting people who are deaf or hard of hearing, assisting individuals during seizures, assisting with retrieval of items, assistance with balance and stability, and preventing or interrupting behaviors. The function of providing comfort, emotional support, well-being, or companionship does not constitute “work or tasks” for the purpose of qualifying as a Service Animal. The term Service Animal includes dogs in training to be Service Animals when they are accompanied by a trainer and identified as a dog in training.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA): An Emotional Support Animal is an umbrella term that includes comfort/therapy/support animals.  An Emotional Support Animal is an animal that fosters emotional or other support which provides relief for one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. The animal must be a reasonable accommodation for the individual and necessary to allow the individual equal opportunity to use and enjoy university housing.

Pet: A pet is any animal kept for ordinary use and companionship. Pets are not covered by this policy. Residents are not permitted to keep pets, except fish in a thirty gallon (or less) tank, in Shepherd University residence halls.

Approved Animal: An Approved Animal is a Service Animal registered with the Office of Disability Support Services or an Emotional Support Animal that has been granted as a reasonable accommodation under this policy. The following guidelines are the responsibility of owner/handler:


Grounds for removal of animals may include but are not limited to:

The Director of Residence Life, or designee, shall determine whether there are grounds to remove an Assistance Animal from a Shepherd University managed residence facility. If a decision is made that an animal poses an immediate threat to others, the animal must be removed immediately. An appeal can be pursued in accordance with the complaint process through the Ability Services office. In a situation where the animal is immediately removed, the animal shall remain removed until the appeal is considered. Under other circumstances, the handler shall be given written notice to remove the animal within 24 hours.  While Shepherd University may make the determination that a given animal is to be removed, this does not affect the student’s housing/dining obligations, nor the student’s ability to continue in housing with an equivalent, suitable assistance animal supported by the documentation on file.


At Shepherd University we are committed to meeting the needs of all individuals and will review and resolve issues with conflicting disabilities.

Students that may have allergic reactions or phobias to animals severe enough to be considered disabilities should contact the Office of Disability Support Services at 304.876.5122 to request accommodations. Students choosing to disclose an allergy or a phobia on their housing application form will be given consideration and every effort made to lessen any exposure to the animal.