This policy is designed to protect the health and safety of the campus community while providing students and employees with clear direction as to which types of animals are allowed on or in University grounds and facilities and which conditions apply in any given situation or location. This policy divides animals on campus into five categories: (A) Service Animals; (B) Feral and Wild Animals; (C) Pets; (D) Research Animals; and (E) Emotional Support/Comfort Animals.

Any student or employee found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

A. Service Animals

Gardner-Webb University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all persons with disabilities who require the assistance of Service Animals.

  1. Definition OF Service Animal: Under Federal Law a Service Animal is a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform specific tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. These tasks include guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with hearing loss to intruders or sounds, aiding persons with mobility impairments, seizure disorders, or to retrieve dropped items.
  2. Preapproval: Subject to the applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and pre-approval by the Noel Center for Disability Resources, Service Animals may accompany students and employees on campus, in the workplace and on or in any other grounds or buildings owned or operated by the University. In general, visitors to campus accompanied by Service Animals are not subject to pre-approval, although they may be asked for confirmation that their animal meets the definition of Service Animal under the ADA.
  3. Care and Supervision: The care and supervision of the Service Animal is the sole responsibility of the individual who uses its services. The individual must maintain control of the Service Animal at all times. The individual is also responsible for ensuring the clean-up of all waste, and when appropriate, toileting the Service Animal in areas designated by the University.
  4. Vaccination: The Service Animal must be immunized against diseases, according to North Carolina law and applicable local ordinance. Service Animal dogs must have current vaccinations against rabies, distemper, and parvovirus and must wear a rabies vaccination tag.
  5. License Tag: All Service Animal dogs must wear a license tag as required by local laws.
  6. Leashing: The Service Animal must be on a leash at all times except when: (a) the individual needs it to perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of constraint; or (b) where the individual is physically unable to maintain it on a leash due to a disability.
  7. Damage: The individual using the Service Animal and/or its owner, is/are financially responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by the Service Animal.
  8. Dangerous or Disruptive Behavior: Notwithstanding any other provision in this policy, a Service Animal may be removed or restricted if it is reasonably deemed to be a danger to others or where its behavior disrupts the educational or work environment. The individual may be prohibited from bringing the Service Animal on campus until the behavioral problems are corrected.
  9. Service Animals in Training: Under North Carolina law, persons accompanied by Service Animals in training have the same rights of access to University grounds and facilities as fully trained Service Animals.  They are subject to the same Noel Center pre-approval processes and conditions.  A Service Animal in training must wear a collar, leash or cape that identifies it as a Service Animal in training.

B. Feral and Wild Animals

  1. Definition of Feral Animal: Any type of animal that is normally domesticated, such as cats or dogs, that have returned to a wild or semi-wild state.
  2. Definition of Wild Animal: Animals that are normally found in the wild, such as geese, ducks and squirrels.
  3. Prohibited Conduct: Feral and Wild animals are potential carriers of rabies and other diseases harmful to members of the Campus Community. No student or employee shall do anything to attract or care for Feral or Wild animals on campus. No student or employee shall provide food or water for Feral or Wild animals or engage in any other human intervention, such as providing shelter or allowing them to enter campus buildings. Any food or shelters found on campus grounds will be removed and disposed of.

C. Pets

  1. Definition: A Pet is any type of animal that has been domesticated. Common examples are dogs and cats, but Pets include any other type of animal that is tame or domesticated, such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, horses and the like. To the extent that an animal does not fall within any of the other defined category of animals in this policy, it shall be deemed a Pet and subject to the rules on Pets.
  2. Prohibited Conduct: No student or employee shall bring Pets on campus or into any University buildings, classrooms or grounds. This policy is not intended to prohibit students or other persons from occasionally walking their Pet dogs on campus so long as they are properly leashed or harnessed and fully vaccinated. The University mascot is exempt from this policy because, in addition to being fully domesticated, supervised at all times, and vaccinated, it is owned by the University and serves as an official symbol of the University.

D. Research Animals

  1. Definition: A Research Animal is any live, vertebrate animal used or intended for use in research, research training, experimentation, or biological testing or for related official University research-related purposes.
  2. Prohibited Conduct: Research Animals must be restrained or caged and are allowed only in those portions of University facilities designed for research.

E. Emotional Support /Comfort Animals

Subject to the terms and conditions of this policy and applicable law, Gardner-Webb University is committed to allowing Residents of University-owned housing who have been diagnosed with a disability to keep the Emotional Support/Comfort animals that they have been prescribed.

  1. Definition: An Emotional Support/Comfort Animal is an animal prescribed by a medical professional to a patient who lives in University housing (“Resident”) to help alleviate symptoms associated with the Resident’s diagnosed disability as recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  2. Location Limitations: Emotional Support/Comfort Animals are allowed only in residential University buildings. Emotional/Comfort Animals are never allowed in other campus buildings, grounds, classrooms or in the workplace.
  3. Preapproval Required: All Emotional Support/Comfort Animals must be pre-approved by the Noel Center for Disability Resources and Housing and Residence Education as outlined in this policy and applicable law.
  4. Preapproval Deadline: Residents requesting permission to have an Emotional Support/Comfort Animal must provide the Noel Center with appropriate documentation no later than 60 days prior to moving into University housing to ensure sufficient time to review all pertinent information and determine whether the animal will be allowed to reside in University housing. Requests may be accepted and reviewed after this deadline, but the University cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop throughout the semester.
  5. Insufficient Documentation: Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for Emotional Support/Comfort Animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in an interview and/or pays a fee. Such documentation is not, by itself, sufficient to establish that an individual has a legitimate need for an Emotional Support/Comfort Animal.
  6. Required Documentation: Documentation of the need for an Emotional Support/Comfort Animal shall include a signed letter, on professional letterhead, from the Resident’s medical provider. The provider shall be familiar with the professional literature concerning the assistive and/or therapeutic benefits of Emotional Support/Comfort Animals for people with disabilities. At a minimum, the letter should include all the following items:
  • Duration of relationship with medical provider.
  • Treatment plan.
  • The provider’s diagnosis of the person’s condition.
  • A clear description of the current impact and functional limitations resulting from the disability.
  • The provider’s confirmation that the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal has been prescribed for treatment purposes and is necessary to help alleviate symptoms associated with the person’s condition.
  • The provider’s description of the service(s) that the animal will provide.
  • All supporting documentation must be current (no older than 6 months).
  • Any additional rationale or documentation the University may reasonably request to understand the basis for the professional opinion.

Please see the Documentation Requirements Form that must be provided to an approved medical provider for additional information.

The Noel Center may require follow up or additional documentation as it deems necessary.

7. Interactive Dialogue: The Noel Center Staff will review all documentation and engage in an interactive dialogue with the Resident to determine if a qualifying disability exists. The Noel Center staff will also determine whether an Emotional Support/Comfort Animal is a reasonable accommodation.

The effect on others in residential housing must be considered, including the potential effect on individuals with allergies to animal hair or dander, as well as the willingness of roommates and floor mates to share their residential community with an animal. No animals that might reasonably pose a danger to others will be allowed. Depending on such considerations alternative housing assignments for the Resident may need to be considered and implemented.

Noel Center Staff will notify Housing and Residence Education if it is determined that the animal is a reasonable accommodation. Appropriate Housing and Residence Education Staff will then follow up with the Resident and schedule a meeting to review next steps.

8. Rules Governing Emotional Support/Comfort Animals in University Housing

  • All Emotional Support/Comfort Animals brought into University housing must be under the control of the Resident at all times.
  • The Resident is responsible for the animal’s well-being including, but not limited to, regular feeding, watering, bathing, grooming, daily care and veterinary services.
  • The Resident is responsible for animal’s behavior at all times, even when the Resident is not present.
  • No animal that has, or reasonably could, pose a danger to others will be allowed to enter or remain in University housing.
  • All Emotional Support/Comfort Animals must be crated within the Resident’s assigned room when the Resident is not in the room with the animal.
  • No Emotional Support/Comfort Animal may remain in Housing and Residence Education Facilities when the Resident will be gone from their room for more than one night.
  • The animal cannot be left in the care of other Resident students in student housing while the Resident is away from Campus.
  • Plant Operations Staff have the right to refrain from processing work orders without the Resident present.
  • The Resident is responsible for immediately and appropriately disposing of all fecal matter and other animal waste. The burden is on the Resident to arrange for removal of animal fecal matter and other waste if he or she is personally unable to perform the task.
  • Indoor animal waste, such as cat litter, must be placed in a sturdy plastic bag and securely tied up before being disposed of in outside trash receptacles. Litter boxes should be placed on mats so that waste is not tracked onto flooring surfaces.
  • In accordance with local ordinances and regulations the animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal. Dogs and cats must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag, with supporting documentation submitted annually.
  • The Resident is responsible for assuring that the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residential facility or cause undue inconvenience for other Residents.
  • The Resident is financially responsible and liable for the actions of the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal including bodily injury and property damage. The Resident’s responsibility includes but is not limited to, replacement of furniture, carpet, windows, wall coverings, and the like. The Resident shall cover these costs at the time of repair or housing check-out, as determined by staff.
  • The Resident is responsible for making sure that the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal does not disrupt the residential community or the roommate/suitemates’ rights to peace and quiet.
  • The Resident is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to Housing and Residence Education Facilities that are assessed after the Resident and animal vacate the residence. Housing and Residence Education shall have the right to bill a Resident’s student account for unmet obligations.
  • The Resident’s residence may be inspected for fleas, ticks, and other pests once per semester, or as determined necessary by staff to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal. If reasonably possible. all inspections will be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the impacted and surrounding units will be treated. The Resident will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management expenses in residential facilities.
  • Should the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Resident is required to fulfill his/her housing obligations within the parameters of the housing agreement, the Gardner-Webb University Student Handbook and/or applicable law.
  • The Resident is responsible for all violations of Housing rules and regulations caused by the presence of the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal.
  • Since all situations differ, staff may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on the Emotional Support/Comfort Animal and/or the Resident in order to achieve compliance with this policy and/or other University policy.
  • Failure to adhere to the requirements of this policy or other reasonable directives from staff may result in the animal being barred/removed from University housing and/or disciplinary action.

9. Disciplinary Action involving Emotional Support/Comfort Animals

Procedures identified in the Gardner-Webb University Student Handbook will be used to impose discipline and review appeals concerning disciplinary action taken against student Residents in association with their Emotional Support/Comfort Animal.

Resident employees receiving discipline in association with their Emotional Support/Comfort Animal have all the rights and privileges afforded to them in the Personnel Policy Manual or Faculty Handbook, as applicable.