Sign In

ESA’s Help Students

September 22, 2020

Owning pets while in college differs for everyone. While on-campus residence halls only allow certified emotional support animals, most apartment complexes and housing near campus allow any type of pet if the resident pays a certain fee.

Since pets aren’t allowed in residence halls, students can apply to have an Emotional Support Animal with them through the Office of Access and Learning Accommodation.

Anna Shaw, assistant director of OALA, said within the last few years, there has been an increase in requests for ESAs across U.S. universities.

“Currently, I think there are five animals in the dorms,” Shaw said.

Shaw said while service animals work for people who have a disability and are allowed to go with them anywhere, Emotional Support Animals are only allowed in residential housing.

“After they have been approved by our office, the approval goes to Tiffany Lowe, who is the director of Living and Learning, and she has to sign off on it as well,” Shaw said. “The students will need to provide appropriate medical documentation.”

The documentation must show the history of the pet working with the student and prove because of their psychological diagnosis, an ESA is something that the doctor recommends.

Dae Vasek, director of OALA, said after contacting the office of Living and Learning, the residence hall must contact the roommates of the individual requesting the ESA as well as contact the other residents in the hall.

“We have run into a situation where a student is allergic to cats and can’t be on the same hall as someone with a cat,” Vasek said. “Or they have a fear of animals, a fear of dogs.”

They then have to decide if they need to move anyone. Vet paperwork, shot records and proof of liability insurance for the pet are also required.

“The animal also needs to be spayed or neutered, and a lot of students requesting, they just got a puppy and the puppy’s too young to be spay-neutered or they don’t want the animal to be spay-neutered.” Shaw said. “Those requests are denied.”

A weight limit of 50 pounds is also set to prevent large dogs from living in residence halls.

“There are always exceptions, but we try to stay within 50 pounds or less, as far as weight goes,” Vasek said. “That’s really for the health and safety of the animal too.”

She said because Baylor is a private university, it has its own process that may look different from public universities.

If a student brings in an unapproved animal, they may be denied future ESA requests. However, once a student finds a place to live off campus after their freshman year, pet restrictions loosen depending on what lease a student decides to take up.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more