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Access Center

Emotional 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 the legislation here. Exceptions include trained service animals, and under the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals.

Federal law (Fair Housing Act) allows individuals with disabilities the presence of emotional support animals in University housing. By law, an emotional support animal means an animal needed for emotional support as determined by a qualified medical provider.  An individual may keep an emotional support animal as an 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 assistance the animal provides. This is determined through documentation from a qualified medical provider

Emotional support animals are not allowed in classrooms or in public buildings on campus, unless as an approved accommodation by the Access Center.

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

Individuals must comply with Residence Life rules and regulations as they pertain to animals in WSU Housing, all applicable federal, state and county laws and regulations, including vaccination, licensure, animal health and leash laws.

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

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

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of emotional support animals. Individuals are responsible for the control of their emotional support animals at all times and for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste.

Emotional Support Animal Request - Steps

To request approval for an emotional support animal, students are to complete/submit the following information to the Access Center:

  1. Housing/ESA Application
  2. Verification of Disability/Chronic Health Condition 

Students may fax, scan and email or hand deliver both the verification form and the personal statement to the Access Center.  If additional information is needed before a decision can be made, a student will be notified as to what information is missing.

  • Fax:  509-335-8511, or
  • Scan and email: Access.Center@wsu.edu, or
  • Hand deliver to Washington Building 217.

NOTE:  Emotional support animals are not considered for approval until both pieces of information (found at links above) are submitted.

Once proper documentation (as defined above) is reviewed, students and Housing and Residence Life (HRL) receive an email from the Access Center within 7-10 days regarding the status of the request. If the student receives a recommendation for approval by the Access Center, HRL reviews the description of the animal and decides if the animal is appropriate for residential living.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Students are not to bring their animals to campus until they have received approval.  To do so is in direct violation of Residence Life and Housing policies.  Students may be required to remove unapproved animals from university housing and fines may be incurred.