Emotional Support Animal Procedures

Emmanuel College is committed to granting reasonable accommodations when such accommodations may be necessary to afford people with disabilities an equal opportunity to use their residence.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

  • An indoor-appropriate animal that may provide psychological, mental, or emotional support to a student. ESAs are not trained and therefore do not perform work or tasks that would qualify them as a "Service Animals" under ADAAA. 
  • Typically, ESAs have a pre-established dynamic with the owner, which is thoroughly documented by a diagnosing mental health provider as a proven-therapeutic intervention for a student with a documented disability. 
  • ESAs, if approved, are allowed in the student's dwelling and are not allowed in any other campus buildings or facilities. Generally, only one ESA can be approved for a student in order to fulfill the intent of the FHA requirements in providing support to the student.

Animal Exclusions

  • Certain animals will be excluded from consideration as an ESA and will be referred to as "excluded animals."
    • Excluded animals include: animals that are inherently dangerous or predatory (snakes, pythons, birds, etc.), large animals that exceed 30 lbs. at full-growth, and wildlife or endangered species (ferrets, etc.).
    • Animals must be spayed or neutered as the species allows. Emmanuel College reserves the right to request documentation of the applicable procedure.
    • Generally, dogs must be at least 10 months of age before they can live in-residence College housing.
  • Emmanuel College may exclude an ESA from campus housing if the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, the animal would cause substantial physical damage to property, the animal would pose an undue financial and administrative burden on the college, the animal would result in a fundamental alteration of the college's program(s); and/or the student does not comply with the guidelines set forth in the Owner's Responsibilities Contract.


  • In order to be eligible to request an ESA as a housing accommodation, a student must demonstrate the following:
    • The student has a documented disability and is registered/in the process of registering with Disability Support Services.
    • There is an identifiable relationship between the requested accommodation and student's documented disability.
    • The ESA is not an excluded animal.

Application of the ESA Policy

  • In applying the above eligibility criteria, Emmanuel will be guided by the following "interpretive principles, rules and factors":
    • The student will have the responsibility of demonstrating, through documented Health Care Provider (HCP) opinion, testimony, and other evidence, that the student would not have been able to use and enjoy Emmanuel housing facilities "but for" the requested accommodation (having the ESA in the dorm room).
    • The student will have the responsibility of demonstrating through HCP opinion, testimony, and other evidence, that the animal is both necessary and reasonable for equal enjoyment and use of Emmanuel housing.
    • The student must demonstrate that no other means and methods (i.e. medication, counseling, other housing accommodations, other available interventions, crisis response mechanisms, or treatments) or combination of means and methods are available to adequately manage symptoms of his/her disability. If means and methods are available to the student to adequately manage symptoms of his/her disability, to a degree that the student with the aid of those other means and methods would be able to use and enjoy Emmanuel housing, then this accommodation would not be granted.
  • Note: These eligibility criteria are based primarily on the relevant provisions of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3604(f), and regulatory guidance provided by the US Department of Housing and Development in its Final Rule entitled "Pet Ownership for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities" published in the Federal register on October 27, 2008 (73 FR 63834).

DSS Contact Person:

  • If you believe you meet the criteria to request an ESA as a housing accommodation, please contact Noelle Galli, Accommodations Coordinator in Disability Support Services (gallin@emmanuel.edu). It is recommended that you contact Noelle before the room assignment process begins.

Steps in the Process of Requesting an ESA

  1. Contact Noelle Galli, Accommodations Coordinator in Disability Support Services at gallin@emmanuel.edu to express your interest in requesting this specific accommodation.
  2. Register with Disability Support Services: (if you are already registered, please skip to number three)
    1. A student must self-disclose his/her disability and submit documentation to begin the process.  More information on what constitutes documentation from a qualified evaluator can be found within the Documentation Guidelines.
  3. Complete Housing Accommodation Request forms
    1. Complete and submit the Student Request for Housing Accommodations Form.
    2. Submit Health Care Provider Request for Housing Accommodations Form.
  4. Complete Animal Specific forms
    1. Student completes the Animal Information Form, which, if approved, will later serve as registration information and that demonstrates veterinary evidence of proper vaccinations and reasonable health.
    2. Student reviews and signs the terms of the Owner's Responsibilities Contract.
    3. The health care provider will then complete an additional ESA Information form (which will be provided to the student individually once all other documentation has been recieved) which includes case-specific information that is used to substantiate a request of this nature.
  5. Noelle will contact the student via email to arrange for an intake meeting to formally register with Disability Support Services.
  6. Upon assignment, the student is expected to comply with all Residence Life requirements and behavior code policies regarding noise, cleanliness, and conduct. Students are solely responsible for their animal's behavior.
    • Students will be responsible for discussing the ESA living arrangements with their roommate(s) and upon agreement, the roommate(s) will sign the Roommate ESA Acknowledgement Form. This form will be provided by a member Residence Life and once completed, returned to Residence Life.

Service Animals

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service animals as "dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities." The institution may make two inquiries to determine whether the dog qualifies as a service animal, which are:
    1. Is the animal required because of a disability?
    2. What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

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