Animals

Policy number: 1.17

Policy section: Institutional Affairs

Revised Date: January 2, 2019


1.  Definitions

Definitions of capitalized terms used herein are set forth in Appendix A.

2.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide for the health and safety of Southern Methodist University students, faculty, staff, and visitors and for the protection of the University’s property/assets.

3.  Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University to prohibit the presence of animals in University controlled and managed buildings, except for the animals listed in the exemption section of this policy. This includes, but is not limited to, residential communities, apartments, university-operated fraternity houses, classroom and administrative buildings, the Student Center, and athletic facilities.

4.  Exempted Pets and Other Animals

The animals listed below are allowed on University grounds:

  1. Service Animals. Students with service animals are strongly encouraged to affiliate with the Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies (“DASS”) office. Faculty and staff with service animals are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Institutional Access and Equity (“IAE”). Students, faculty, and staff who plan to reside on campus with their service animal must inform DASS (if a student) or IAE (if faculty or staff), and Residence Life & Student Housing (“RLSH”) as soon as practicably possible to aid RLSH in housing logistics and planning.
  2. Emotional Support Animals (“ESA’s”). Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), ESA’s are only permitted in University-operated housing and related areas. Student requests for an ESA must be approved by DASS and RLSH. Faculty and staff must request permission from IAE and RLSH.
  3. Service Animals in Training. Students, faculty, or staff that want to bring a service animal in training on campus must submit proof to DASS (if a student) or to IAE (if faculty or staff) that he or she is an approved trainer, and submit a request for a housing accommodation to RLSH (if living in University housing).
  4. Registered therapy animals brought on campus by approved handlers for University-sanctioned events or programming.
  5. Research and teaching animals that are approved by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
  6. Fish in containers of ten gallons or less.
  7. Pets of faculty and professional staff living in University housing. Before bringing a pet into University housing, faculty and staff must register their pet with RLSH and abide by the procedures set forth in the Residence Life & Student Housing Pet Procedures.
  8. Official University mascots.
  9. In addition, one-time exemptions may be granted for University-sanctioned events or programming involving animals. An individual must obtain approval from the Vice President for Business and Finance in advance.
    1. Although these animals are permitted within buildings and facilities, said animals must remain under the control of the owner at all times. The care or supervision of an exempted animal is solely the responsibility of the owner. SMU reserves the right to exclude an exempted animal whose behavior poses a threat to the health or safety of others.

5.  Rules for Animals on Campus

  1. All animals brought on University grounds must be under the control of the owner/handler at all times, and must be maintained on a leash, on a restraining harness, or in a caged enclosure.
  2. All requirements for the presence of animals in public places (i.e., vaccinations, licensure, ID tags) mandated by state or local ordinances must be followed with the burden of proving licensure and vaccination status on the owner/handler.
  3. Fecal matter deposited (whether on University grounds or in a University building or other facility) by an animal brought to campus must be removed immediately and disposed of properly by the owner/handler. The burden is on the owner/handler to arrange for removal of fecal matter if he or she is personally unable to perform the task.
  4. Anyone who brings an animal on University grounds assumes all financial responsibility for any damages to property or injury to individuals caused by the animal. The University may remove or require the removal of any animal that poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, is not housebroken, or otherwise disrupts the use of campus grounds or facilities. Animals found tethered, unattended, or abandoned may be humanely impounded in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and should be reported to University Police

6.  Related Procedures

Appendix A: Definitions

“Service Animal” means any dog (or in some cases, a miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purpose of this definition. The work or tasks that the service animal performs must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. Service animals are working animals, not pets.

“Emotional Support Animal”(includes animals referred to as therapy, assistance, or comfort animals) means an animal selected or prescribed to an individual with a disability by a healthcare or mental health professional to play a significant part in a person’s treatment process, e.g., in alleviating the symptoms of that individual’s disability. Because they do not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living and do not accompany a person with a disability at all times, an emotional support animal is not a “Service Animal.”

“Research and Teaching Animals” means animals approved for use in direct support of the University’s teaching and research mission and used in accordance with guidelines established by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

“Pet” means an animal kept for ordinary use and companionship unrelated to a disability. A pet is not considered a service animal or an emotional support animal.


Revised: January 2, 2019

Adopted: August 2, 2016