Pet Friendly Colleges: Not As Many As You Might Think
According to a recent CNBC.com article, in a poll of 1,000 colleges and universities across the country only 4% of those polled permitted students to bring pets with them to the dorm. For those pet friendly colleges, rules and guidelines vary from campus to campus.
Review College Pet Policy In Advance
Some pet friendly colleges may have age and ownership requirements. They may require the pet be at least 18 months old and been with the family for at least a year. And if you are considering taking in a stray to the dorm room, forget about it! That may mean instant penalties and loss of the privilege to even have a dog in your dorm room.
Some colleges require that you register your dog. In addition to notifying the school about your new “dorm mate,” you may also have to register him/her with the city and state, as well.
Check for breed and weight restrictions. Unfortunately, many colleges do not allow specific dog breeds such as Pit Bulls or Chihuahuas. Additionally, some cap out the weight limit at 40 pounds. Be sure to inquire of any weight restrictions from your college if they do allow pets in the dorms.
Service and Emotional Support Pets
By law (Fair Housing Act), registered service dogs and emotional support animals are allowed everywhere. College staff are permitted to ask if the pet is a registered service animal and what the pet has been trained to do. They are NOT permitted to ask you to prove or explain your issue or disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
For assistance animals that are not service animals — perhaps a cat is there to help you cope with depression, colleges may demand documentation from a doctor that there is in fact a real need.
Other Regulations That May Apply
Your pet’s vaccinations and shots must be current. If they are not, your pet will not be granted admission.
Dogs must be well behaved and housebroken. When your dog is navigating the hallways, he/she should be well trained in dealing with the chaos and constant flurry of activity. Otherwise, he/she may be given the proverbial walking papers….as in…take that dog for a walk right off the campus and don’t look back!
Check out the school’s liability policy regarding pets. You will probably be held financially responsible for damage your pet causes.
Although I’ve used the term “pet” broadly, dogs and cats are the ones most impacted by college pet regulations. Many schools allow fish, or caged pets such as hamsters, For those schools that do permit cats and dogs, one is usually the limit!
For a current list of pet friendly colleges, click here. (List is at end of article.)