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Animals on Campus Policy

Brigham Young University generally does not permit animals on university property. However, service and assistance animals play an important role in enhancing accessibility for people with disabilities. BYU supports the use of assistance animals in compliance with this policy and state and federal laws and regulations.


“Assistance Animal” is an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal.

“Disability” is a physical or mental condition or impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities. These limitations may include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.

“Emotional Support Animal” is an animal that provides emotional support to alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of an individual’s disability and plays an integral part of an individual’s treatment process. An Emotional Support Animal does not need to have any specialized training and is not a Pet. For the purposes of this policy, the term Emotional Support Animal encompasses comfort, therapy, and companion animals.

“Pet” is an animal kept for personal enjoyment that does not meet the definition of Assistance Animal.

“Service Animal” is a dog or miniature horse individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, intellectual, or other mental disability. Examples of work or tasks that a Service Animal may perform include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assisting individuals who are vision impaired with navigation
  • Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds
  • Pulling a wheelchair
  • Assisting an individual during a seizure
  • Alerting individuals to the presences of allergens
  • Retrieving items such as cell phones or medicine
  • Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability
  • Assisting individuals with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors

“Service Animal in Training” is a dog that is being trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

Pets on Campus

BYU does not permit Pets on university property, including on-campus housing. This prohibition does not apply to animals that, under the direction and with the approval of the appropriate responsible vice president, are used for university purposes in approved protocols and in designated areas.

Service Animals in BYU Programs and Activities

Subject to the limitations set forth in this section, Service Animals are permitted on campus and in on-campus housing to accompany students and individuals with disabilities who participate in university programs and activities.

Federal laws prohibit asking about the nature or extent of a person’s disability to determine if an animal is a Service Animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that an individual has a disability or that an animal is trained to perform a task to support a person with a disability, a university employee is permitted to ask the following questions to determine if an animal qualifies as a Service Animal:

  • Is the animal required due to a disability?
  • What task(s) has the animal been trained to perform?

If an animal handler reports that an animal is required due to the handler’s disability and has been trained to perform tasks to assist the handler, then the animal qualifies as a Service Animal. If an animal is not required due to a disability or has not been trained to perform a task to support the person with a disability, then it may be excluded from campus programs and activities.

University personnel may not ask persons using a Service Animal to demonstrate the task the Service Animal has been trained to perform or to document that the Service Animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal. Service Animals are not required to display any visible markings, including wearing vests or tags, to establish status as a Service Animal.

A handler who brings a Service Animal to campus is responsible for the following:

  • Caring for, supervising, and maintaining control of the Service Animal at all times through the use of a leash, voice, signal, or other effective control
  • Ensuring the Service Animal is housebroken
  • Ensuring the Service Animal relieves itself in appropriate areas
  • Ensuring the immediate cleanup of the Service Animal’s waste
  • Complying with all local licensing requirements, including registration, immunizations, and applicable tags

A Service Animal may be excluded from campus or a particular portion of campus if one of the following occurs:

  • The Service Animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of people or animals
  • The Service Animal is not harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the Service Animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents the use of these devices (in this case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls)
  • The Service Animal is out of control (e.g., running unleashed through a facility, touching others with paws or nose, barking, jumping, running away from the handler, etc.) and effective action is not taken to control it
  • The Service Animal is not housebroken
  • The owner fails to immediately clean up any waste from the Service Animal
  • The Service Animal is left unattended
  • A facility cannot accommodate the type, size, or weight of a miniature horse

Due to health and safety concerns, Service Animals are generally not permitted in restricted areas on campus, including research laboratories, boiler rooms, custodial closets, facility equipment rooms, classrooms with research/demonstration animals, areas where protective clothing is required, wood and metal shops, motor pools, rooms with heavy machinery, food preparation areas, and areas outlined in state law as being inaccessible to animals. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis by contacting the University Accessibility Center (UAC) and the appropriate department representative. The person responsible for the restricted area has the final decision-making authority on whether to admit a Service Animal into the area.

Students with Service Animals may voluntarily work with the UAC, which may provide the student with a letter that can be shown to campus personnel to establish that an animal is a Service Animal. A Service Animal may not be excluded from campus because its handler does not have such a letter.

Emotional Support Animals in On-Campus Housing

A student who is under contract for or is living in on-campus housing must request an accommodation from the UAC to be accompanied by an Emotional Support Animal in on-campus housing. Students should meet with the UAC and provide appropriate documentation at least thirty days before housing is needed. Representatives from the UAC and Residence Life will review the requested accommodation to determine if the request for an Emotional Support Animal is reasonable.

Requests for accommodation may be denied where the presence of an Emotional Support Animal imposes an undue financial or administrative burden, fundamentally alters the nature of the housing program or services, or constitutes a direct threat to others. Requests for accommodations may also be denied if an Emotional Support Animal causes significant property damage. Residence Life has the final decision on any request for an accommodation involving an Emotional Support Animal in on-campus housing.

Emotional Support Animals are limited to the on-campus dwelling unit of the student with the accommodation and designated relief areas and are not allowed in other campus locations.

Assistance Animals in On-Campus Housing

A handler who brings a Service Animal into on-campus housing or receives an accommodation to bring an Emotional Support Animal into on-campus housing is responsible for the following:

  • Caring for, supervising, and maintaining control of the Assistance Animal at all times through the use of a leash, voice controls, signal controls, or other effective control
  • Ensuring the Assistance Animal relieves itself in appropriate areas
  • Ensuring the timely cleanup of the Assistance Animal’s waste
  • Ensuring that the Assistance Animal is housebroken or housed in cages where the animal’s waste may be appropriately contained
  • Complying with all local licensing requirements, including registration, immunizations, and tags
  • Maintaining immunization records and documentation regarding the health and safety of the animal in a manner in that it is readily available
  • Obtaining an annual clean bill of health from a licensed veterinarian for Assistance Animals other than cats and dogs (documentation can take the form of an animal vaccination certificate or a veterinarian’s statement regarding the animal’s health)
  • Maintaining a safety plan by filling out a safety plan form provided by Residence Life and filing a copy of the plan with Residence Life

On a case-by-case basis, the UAC or Residence Life may place other reasonable conditions or restrictions on Assistance Animals.

Residence Life personnel will make a reasonable effort to notify tenants in the residence building where an Assistance Animal will be located. Students with medical conditions that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) should contact the UAC if they have a health or safety concern about exposure to an Assistance Animal. The UAC and Residence Life will attempt to resolve these concerns, which may include relocating tenants. The UAC and Residence Life may use the University Student Health Center as a resource to provide information on medical issues relating to exposure to Assistance Animals.

Employees Seeking the Use of an Assistance Animal

An employee with a disability who requires the use of an Assistance Animal to perform the essential functions of his or her job should contact the Equal Opportunity Office in Human Resource Services to request an accommodation. Faculty members should contact the Office of Faculty Relations.

Damage Caused by Assistance Animals

Handlers of Assistance Animals are solely responsible for any cleaning, beyond normal wear and tear, necessitated by their Assistance Animals and for paying for any damage to property or any injury to persons caused by their Assistance Animals.

Treatment of Assistance Animals

When interacting with Assistance Animals and their handlers, members of the university community should not do any of the following:

  • Touch an Assistance Animal unless invited to do so
  • Feed an Assistance Animal
  • Deliberately startle an Assistance Animal
  • Separate or attempt to separate a handler from his or her Assistance Animal
  • Ask for details about the handler’s disability

Service Animals in Training

An animal being trained as a Service Animal has all the same rights as a fully trained Service Animal when accompanied by a trainer on campus and in on-campus housing. The handlers of Service Animals in Training must comply with the portions of this policy applicable to Service Animals. As a general rule, employees (including student employees) are not permitted to have a Service Animal in Training accompany them on campus while they are working.

Reporting Concerns for Animals on Campus

Members of the university community concerned about animals on campus or in on-campus housing, may contact the following entities as appropriate:

  • Residence Life administration (for animal concerns in on-campus housing)
  • Office of Faculty Relations (for animal concerns in the classroom)
  • Building coordinator or other unit manager/supervisor (for animal concerns in buildings and other parts of campus)
  • Equal Opportunity Office in Human Resource Services (for animal concerns in the workplace)
  • BYU Police (if an animal is presenting an immediate safety risk or if a person who has been asked by university personnel to remove a disruptive animal refuses to do so)
  • UAC (for any other issue)

When a concern is raised about a Service Animal on campus, the decision whether to exclude the Service Animal and the length of any exclusion will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate unit identified above.

Misrepresentation of an Animal’s Status

The State of Utah prohibits individuals from misrepresenting an animal as an Assistance Animal. Individuals who misrepresent their animals as Assistance Animals may be subject to discipline under the Church Educational System Honor Code or Personnel Conduct Policy and/or punishment under applicable law.

Feral or Wild Animals

Feral or wild animals may inhabit the campus grounds if they do not pose a risk or hazard, cause property damage, create a public nuisance, or require human intervention. No person may take actions to attract feral or wild animals to campus or engage in any other human intervention for feral or wild animals on campus. Human intervention includes, but is not limited to, feeding, watering, building shelters for animals, and providing medication. Feral or wild animals may be regulated, controlled, or humanely relocated in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.