Access Center

Service/Emotional Support Animal Guidelines

Service Animal Guidelines

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  for exceptions, which includes trained 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 a dog meets this definition, it is considered a service dog 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 must inform both the Access Center and WSU Housing.

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: to provide comfort is not considered a task for which the animal has been trained)

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

  • The dog is disruptive and not effectively controlled.
  • The presence of the service dog would fundamentally change the nature of the classroom, course or activity.
  • The service dog'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 dog is not housebroken.

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

  • The student using the service dog is disabled
  • The dog is a service dog
  • The dog is trained to perform certain tasks related to the individuals' impairment

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

Individuals are responsible for:

  • The well-being of a service dog as well as the cost of any damages as a result of the service dog
  • 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 dogs. If a service dog, 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 dog, 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 as they pertain to service animals on campus.

Emotional Support Animals in University Housing

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 any service animal, as defined above, as well as an animal needed for emotional support. 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, or as trained service animals as defined above.

The Access Center will determine, after meeting with the student and reviewing appropriate documentation, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether the animal requested is a reasonable accommodation in University housing.  Residence Life is consulted on a case-by-case basis.

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 companion animals at all times and for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. 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.

Emotional Support Animal Request - Steps

Two pieces of documentation are required.  To request approval for an emotional support animal, students are to complete/submit the following information to the Access Center:

  1. Verification of Disability/Chronic Health Condition found here:  
  2. Personal Statement, found here

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 is made, a student will be notified as to what information is missing. 

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

Students are contacted within one week via email with a decision.  If the animal is approved by the Access Center, it then becomes the student’s responsibility to meet with their Residence Life RED/Housing Apartment Manager as soon as possible to review a list of regulations governing animals on campus and to receive an official ID card.  The student is responsible for understanding and following all regulations, and shall sign the document with their Residence Life RED/Housing Apartment Manager.  Only when this step is completed will the animal be officially approved to live in WSU residences.

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.

Service Animals in Training

All service animals-in-training are approved through the
Office of Equal Opportunity/ ADA Coordinator’s office.  Call 509-335-8288; or email oeo@wsu.edu

Employment and Animals

WSU employees are to contact HRS regarding animals as an accommodation.  Call 509-335-4521.