Adopted by President’s Cabinet 3/16/23; revised 3/24/23

Policy Statement

East Georgia State College acknowledges that assistive animals serve an important role in supporting the daily living experiences of their respective owners. This policy covers the EGSC requirements for permitting assistive animals for students and employees in EGSC housing.  Service Animals are a different category of accommodation and are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. SeeEGSC Service Animal Policy.


Assistive Animal: an animal that provides emotional support or alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability; does not require specialized training and is not species specific; and is allowed only in residences. Generally, only domesticated animals of the type commonly kept in households are eligible to serve as assistive animals.  Owner: resident approved for assistive accommodation under this policy.

Policy Scope

Assistive animals will be allowed in housing as a reasonable accommodation for residents (students and employees) with disabilities who meet the legal requirements for an assistive animal under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and follow the procedures herein.

Disability and Assistive Animal Accommodation

Students and employees with a disability that follow the procedures and meet the requirements of this policy  will be allowed a reasonable accommodation: a change, exception or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service that may be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

For the purposes of the FHA, a disability exists when a person has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.

An assistive animal is an animal that provides comfort and aids in decreasing the impairments of a disability on everyday functioning. Under the Fair Housing Act, an individual with a qualified disability may be entitled to keep an assistive animal as a reasonable accommodation in housing facilities that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals. Assistive animals are allowed only in housing facilities.

Procedure for Requesting Assistive Animal Accommodation

Providing Required Disability Information

Individuals requesting assistive animal accommodation must provide to the EGSC Counselor reliable supporting documentation from an evaluator that has a professional relationship with the student involving the provision of healthcare or disability related services that includes:

            1. The specific animal for which the reasonable accommodation is sought;
            2. The individual has a physical or mental impairment, has a record of such impairment, or is regarding as having such an impairment;
            3. The impairment substantially limits at least one major life activity or major bodily function;
            4. The individual needs the specific animal requested because it performs a job or task, provides assistance, or performs at least one task that benefits the person because of his or her disability, or because the animal provides therapeutic emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of the disability of the individual. The name of the owner’s veterinarian will also be required.

If the animal is anything other than a dog, cat, bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, fish or other type domesticated animal, the documentation should show:

            • The date of the last consultation with the individual.
            • Any unique circumstances justifying the individual’s need for the particular animal(s) if already owned or identified by the individual or particular type of animal (s).
            • A statement that the evaluator has reliable information about this specific animal and that they specifically recommend this type of animal.

The owner must also provide proof of current vaccinations for the animal and provide updated vaccination records as needed. The owner will provide additional documentation if necessary.  See Attachment A, Assistive Animal Accommodation Request Form.

The EGSC Counselor will review and evaluate the documentation provided. When the EGSC Counselor determines that the documentation submitted satisfies the above criteria, EGSC will determine then review the reasonableness of the specific assistive animal requested.

Assessing the Reasonableness of an Animal

In general, only domesticated animals of a type commonly kept in households are eligible to serve as assistive animals. Reptiles (other than turtles), barnyard animals, monkeys, kangaroos, and other non-domesticated are not considered common household animals. For non-domesticated animals, the individual seeking the accommodation has the substantial burden of demonstrating the disability-related need for the specific animal or the specific type of animal. If EGSC determines that the proposed animal is unreasonable, EGSC will engage in an interactive process with the individual to determine if there are alternative accommodations that might effectively meet the individual’s disability related needs. The EGSC Counselor will maintain a record of all assistive animal requests. When an assistive animal is approved as an accommodation, Housing personnel will be made aware of the location of the animal and emergency information for the student.

Additional Terms Governing Assistive Animal in Housing

If the assistive animal request is granted, the owner must abide by all EGSC housing regulations found in this policy including Attachment B: Additional Terms Governing Assistive Animal in Housing, EGSC Residence Hall Handbook, EGSC Student Handbook, EGSC Student Housing Agreement.


EGSC may require removal of an assistive animal if the owner fails to comply with the written rules governing the care, maintenance and control of assistive animals in housing (see Attachment B). Removal determinations are based on the behavior of a particular animal, on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the EGSC housing department, the owner, and other parties as appropriate. Examples of disruptive behaviors that will result in removal include but are not limited to barking or other noise, biting, jumping at or on individuals, or property damage. EGSC Public Safety will create an incident report for complaints about an assistive animal.

If an animal exhibits aggression or has injured another person or animal, Public Safety has the discretion to immediately remove the animal and turn it over to animal control. Reasonable efforts will be made to notify the owner. Immediate removal will be based upon the best available objective evidence to determine (1) the nature, duration, and severity of risk posed; (2) the probability that potential injury will actually occur or reoccur; and (3) whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.  In all other instances, when removal is necessary, the owner shall be notified in writing by the Director of Housing that the removal is required and given 48 hours to make alternative arrangements for the assistive animal. If the owner fails to remove the assistive animal within the designated time frame, EGSC has the right to remove the assistive animal and relinquish it to the local animal shelter. Public Safety will inform the Director of Counseling of instances of removal due to personal injury, noise, property damage by the assistive animal. The owner may appeal the decision to the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.  The owner resident remains responsible for all financial and other obligations of the housing contract.

Attachment A - EGSC Assistive Animal Accommodation Request


Attachment A - EGSC Assistive Animal Accommodation Request (PDF)


Attachment B - Additional Terms Governing Assistive Animal in Housing

Containment – An assistive animal must be confined to the accommodated individual (owner) assigned residence except to the extent the Owner is taking the assistive animal out for natural relief and exercise, and when leaving campus. When an assistive animal is outside the owner’s residence, it must be contained in an animal carrier or controlled on a leash or harness. If left unattended in the residence, the assistive animal must be crated or confined to a carrier such that the staff may access the room for maintenance purposes without posing a risk to the assistive animal or staff member.

Dominion and Control – The assistive animal must be properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the dominion and control of the owner at all times. The owner is prohibited from permitting the assistive animal to go loose or run at large. If the animal is found running at large, the animal may be subject to capture and confinement and immediate removal from campus housing. The owner is responsible for ensuring that that assistive animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence halls or of other residential students. Disruptive behaviors or other violations of the policy will be adjudicated through the EGSC Code of Conduct.

Supervision – Owner is prohibited from leaving the assistive animal alone overnight or in the care of another student. If the owner is to be absent from his/her residence hall overnight or longer, the animal must accompany the owner.

Emergency Contacts – Owner is required to identify two alternative caregivers in the event of emergency. The caregiver should be prepared to take custody of the assistive animal within 12 hours’ notice. Other residents cannot serve as alternate caregivers.  EGSC assumes no responsibility or liability for the care of the owner’s assistive animal including care in an emergency prior to the caregiver taking custody.

Vaccination – The owner must abide by current city, county and state ordinances, laws and/or regulations pertaining to vaccination. It is the owner’s responsibility to know and understand any relevant ordinances, laws and regulations. When making a request for an assistive animal, the owner must provide proof of current vaccination.

Health and Wellness – Assistive animals must be housebroken, spayed or neutered, in good general health, and generally well-behaved. To be eligible as an assistive animal,  dogs must be at least 12 months old, and cats must be at least 6 months old. Owner must provide a clean bill of health from current veterinarian provider and proof that the animal is free of communicable diseases,  fleas, and parasites prior to arrival on campus, annually and, more frequently if requested. EGSC reserves the right to request that an assistive animal receive veterinary attention at any time during the assistive animals’ residency.

Sanitation:  The owner agrees to keep the assistive animal clean and well groomed. EGSC reserves the right to remove the assistive animal until the condition is corrected. The owner agrees to maintain their living space in a manner that minimizes odors and the accumulation of assistive animal fur/dander. The assistive animal’s food should be kept in a closed container within the owner’s room. The owner assumes responsibility for properly containing and disposing of the assistive animal’s waste, which may necessitate different handling precautions and responsibilities based on the assistive animal species.  Waste and/or litter should be collected in a sealable bag and disposed of in an outside waste container. The owner will permit scheduled inspection of the owner’s room for fleas, ticks, or other pests as needed, and will be financially responsible for any necessary pest treatment above and beyond EGSC’s standard pest management.

Fire Drills – unannounced fire drills are scheduled to test building systems and student compliance with building evacuation expectation. All individuals present at the time of the fire drill are required to leave the building until the drill is over. The owner should be mindful that fire alarms will ring for an extended period often in excess of five minutes as part of the drill. As no advanced warning is provided, please be aware of how the continuous alarm may affect your assistive animal if left alone in your living space. EGSC is not responsible for removing the assistive animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. Students will not be able to return to housing to remove their animal during a fire alarm without express permission of the emergency personnel. Emergency personnel will determine whether to remove the assistive animal and may not be held responsible for care, damage to or loss of the assistive animal.

Disclosure – Owner will provide written consent for EGSC to disclose information related to the assistive animal, including but not limited to, facilities personnel, security personnel and roommates. Such information is limited to the information regarding the animal and not specific to the owner’s disability.

Roommate Concerns – Roommates with allergy or phobia to the assistive animal will be considered. Owners may be assigned to a single room with no roommates when necessary.

Liability for Damages – Owner will be held responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond standard cleaning, pest management costs in excess of the institution’s standard pest management, and/or for repairs to the residential space that are assessed after the assistive animal and owner vacate the residential space. EGSC expressly reserves the right to bill the owner’s account for unmet obligations under this provision. The owner may be liable to individuals for damages due to personal injury caused by the assistive animal.

Roommate Agreement for Animal in Housing (PDF)