Service and Support Animals in University Housing 

The following information is provided to help define the role and the place of animals relative to facilities and residence halls at the Washington State University Pullman campus in promoting disability access. Under WAC 504-36-020, pets are not allowed in university buildings.  Refer to WAC 504-36-020 for exceptions, which include trained service animals. 

Emotional Support Animals  

Federal law (Fair Housing Act) allows individuals with disabilities the presence of emotional support animals in University housing.  An individual may keep an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation in University housing if: 

  • The individual is disabled. 
  • The individual has presented documentation to the Access Center that describes the functional limitations of the individual’s disability. (Under the Fair Housing Act, the request for documentation is allowed.) Documentation must be from a qualified medical provider. 
  • The animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. 
  • There is an identifiable relationship between the impairment and the animal's assistance. This is determined through documentation from a qualified medical provider. 

The Access Center will determine, after reviewing appropriate documentation and the application for Housing Accommodations, whether the animal requested is a reasonable accommodation in University housing.  Housing and Residence Life is then informed of the Access Center’s recommendation. 

The University may exclude an emotional support animal from University housing if the animal is: 

  1. Not housebroken, 
  2. Would cause substantial damage to the property of others, 
  3. Would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, 
  4. Would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity, 
  5. Is not being cared for by the individual. 

The University is not responsible for caring for or supervising emotional support animals. Individuals are responsible for controlling their support animals at all times and ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Individuals must comply with Residence Life rules and regulations pertaining to animals in WSU Housing, all applicable federal, state and county laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws. 

Service Animals 

Disabled individuals may be accompanied by their service animals on all Washington State University campuses where members of the public or participants in services, programs or activities are allowed to go. A service animal is defined by the federal government as any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental conditions. If an animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government or a training program.  If a student plans to live in university housing with a service animal, the student is expected to inform WSU Housing and Residence Life and, if appropriate, New Coug Orientation administration. 

Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals. 

The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's impairment. Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to: 

  • Assisting an individual with low vision with navigation 
  • Alerting individuals who are hard of hearing to the presence of people or objects 
  • Retrieving items 
  • Providing assistance with stability or balance to an individual with a mobility impairment 
  • Federal law does not require the individual to provide documentation that an animal has been trained as a service animal. 
  • The University may, however, ask if the animal is required because of impairment, as well as what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. (NOTE: providing comfort is not considered work or a task.) 

Exclusions of service animals are determined on an individualized basis and when one of the following conditions exist: 

  • The animal is disruptive and not effectively controlled. 
  • The presence of the service animal would fundamentally change the nature of the classroom, course or activity. 
  • The service animal's presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property and/or the health or safety of others. (Service animals are not allowed in animal science labs and have limited access within the College of Veterinary Medicine/Veterinary Hospital). 
  • The animal is not housebroken. 

When circumstances arise that would justify evaluating the presence of a service animal, the university will employ the following criteria: 

  • The student using the service animal is disabled 
  • The animal is a service animal 
  • The animal is trained to perform certain tasks related to the individual's impairment 

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. 

Individuals are responsible for: 

  • The well-being of a service animal as well as the cost of any damages as a result of the service animal 
  • The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste 
  • The control of the animal at all times. Reasonable behavior is expected from service animals. If a service animal, for example, exhibits unacceptable behavior, the individual is expected to employ the proper training techniques to correct the situation. 
  • Harnessing, leashing, or tethering the service animal unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks. 
  • Following all requirements for the presence of animals in public places mandated by State or local ordinances (vaccination, license, animal health, leash) 
  • Refer to RCW 49.60.218, and RCW 49.60.215 for further information on Washington State laws pertaining to service animals on campus. 

Service Animals in Training 

All service animals-in-training are approved through the office of WSU Public Safety.  Interested parties must complete a SAiT Application Waiver Request. 

Please refer to the Service Animals in Training website for further information.  

Employment and Animals 

WSU employees are to contact HRS regarding animals as reasonable accommodations.  Call 509-335-4521.