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Service and Assistance Animals on Campus, and Pets

  • Policy Category: Executive
  • Effective Date: 07/26/2023
  • Responsible Officer: Assistant Provost for Student Success; Director of Equity and Compliance
  • History: Animals in the Library
  • Responsible Office: Provost’s Office and The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Location


This policy is intended to define service animals, emotional support animals, and pets, and provide information about if, when, and where they are allowed on the Wentworth Institute of Technology (university) campus.


This policy applies to all students, employees, vendors, visitors, and volunteers affiliated with this policy.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Fair Housing Act.


Wentworth Institute of Technology allows animals on campus consistent with the procedures outlined in this policy but may exclude an animal from campus if it causes disruption, threatens the health or safety of others, or otherwise fails to meet the criteria set forth in this policy.


a. Alternative Care Giver (ACG): The person responsible for caring for a service animal or an emotional support animal (ESA) if the owner/handler is no longer able to care for the animal. The ACG cannot be a Wentworth student or staff member and must be provided prior to moving into the residence halls. Alternative Care Givers must be within a 24-hour driving distance to the campus.

b. Service Animal: Any guide or signal dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, such as guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting persons with impaired hearing, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. The service that the dog is providing must be directly related to the individual’s disability. If a dog meets this definition, it qualifies as a Service animal. Service animals are not required to be licensed or certified by state or local governments or to wear a vest or harness. In limited situations, a miniature horse may be considered a service animal.

c. Service Animal in Training: For purposes of this policy, a service animal in training is a dog that is being trained as a service animal and includes a puppy that is being raised to become a service animal in training. Handlers of service animals in training must be an approved trainer from a recognized organization.

d. Emotional Support Animal (ESA): As indicated in the Fair Housing Act (FHA) any animal that is specifically designated by a qualified health care provider as necessary in order to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwelling unit. An ESA is not a pet, a Service Animal, or a therapy animal.

e. Pet: A privately owned animal, vertebrate or invertebrate, kept for ordinary use and/or companionship, not classified as a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal.

f. Handler: The person responsible for a Service Animal.

g. Owner: For the purposes of this policy, an owner is the person responsible for an Emotional Support Animal.

h. Controlled Spaces: For the purposes of this policy, controlled spaces are not open spaces. Controlled spaces are defined as any indoor area owned or controlled by the university, and any outdoor area owned or controlled by the university with limitations on use or access (e.g., practice fields, stadium, quad, tennis courts, etc.). Areas open to the public (i.e., streets, lawns, sidewalks, parking lots) with no limitations on access are not controlled spaces.

i. Public Spaces: For the purposes of this policy, public spaces are indoor and outdoor areas that are open to the general public. Classrooms, residence halls and most employee workspaces are not generally considered public spaces.


General Information

All individuals are generally prohibited from bringing animals into any buildings or other controlled spaces on university property. However, individuals with disabilities are allowed to bring service animals and emotional support animals (ESA’s) on and/or into controlled spaces as provided below.

Service Animals are permitted to be on university property in any place where the animal’s handler is permitted to be. In certain limited situations, a service animal may be prohibited for safety and health reasons. The accompaniment of an individual with a disability by a service animal in a location with health and safety restrictions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

For safety reasons, poisonous, venomous animals, wild animals, domestic stray animals, or animals that may pose a risk to community health and safety are prohibited from campus.

Service Animals, Including Service Animals in Training

Students are not required to receive permission from the university prior to bringing that animal onto university property. The student may be asked whether the animal is needed because of a disability, and what work or task(s) the animal has been trained to perform.

Students are highly encouraged to notify the university if they plan on having the service animal reside with them on campus. This allows the university to make appropriate arrangements, offer additional services as needed, and notify necessary campus offices of the presence of an animal on campus in case of an emergency. Students should contact Student Accessibility Services regarding this request.

Emotional Support Animals

To request an emotional support animal, students must register with Student Accessibility Services by meeting with a member of the Student Accessibility Services staff and complete the Accommodation Request Form. An interactive process will be used to review requests.

ESAs are not allowed in or on any controlled space other than the owner’s privately assigned living accommodations within the residential areas. Housing and Residential Education defines the owner’s residential living area.

A formal agreement between Housing and Residential Education and the owner will be utilized to identify the area where the owner can take the emotional support animal depending upon the housing unit in which the owner resides.

Students are expected to decline all invitations from other students to take the emotional support animal to restricted areas and non-authorized rooms or residence halls.

Renewal is each year

Workplace Accommodations

Requests for service animal or an emotional support animal for an individual employed or performing work at the university must be approved in advance by the Executive Director of Equity and Compliance or designee prior to bringing the animal to the workplace.

An interactive process will be utilized to examine requests for ESAs.

Employees residing in university owned property must adhere to the conditions of the Live-in Professional Staff Pet Guidelines. Questions related to these guidelines should be directed to the Director of Housing and Residential Education.


Pets are not permitted in or on any controlled space on university property and are permitted only in outdoor areas open to the general public.

Students must adhere to the Housing and Residential Education Policies.

Handler/Owner Responsibilities

A service animal, service animal in training, or an emotional support animal must be directly supervised by the handler/owner at all times while on university property. The animal must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a harness, leash, or tether as needed.

Animals may not be left unattended at any time on university property, unless the animal is left in the handler/owner’s university residence hall room. The duration in which the animal is left alone in the residence hall must be reasonable.

All handlers/owners are responsible for compliance with all state and local laws concerning animals (including registration, vaccination, and tags). The university reserves the right to request documentation showing that the approved animal has been licensed. Note: Massachusetts law requires that dogs be licensed and provides that service animals are exempt from the license fee.

Handlers/owners are responsible for cleaning up any waste created by their animal and for any damage caused by the animal while on university property.

Handlers/owners must provide the university with the name of an alternative care giver.

Removal of an Animal:

The university reserves the right to remove or exclude an approved animal from the university if:

  1. The animal poses a direct threat to health and safety
  2. The handler/owner does not maintain control of the animal, including but not limited to during any interactions with other animals
  3. The presence of an animal fundamentally alters a university program
  4. Improper/inadequate care of the animal is exhibited, including if the animal is not housebroken
  5. Damage or harm is caused by the animal
  6. The handler/owner violates any of the responsibilities outlined in this policy

Determinations are made on a case-by-case basis


  1. University events that involve animals on campus. All events must be approved by the Office of the General Counsel
  2. Animals used in police, search, and rescue operations
  3. Animals trained for and used in a clinical therapeutic setting on campus, such as the Center for Wellness
  4. Appearances by official mascots as approved by event organizers

Additional Information & Related Documents

Interpretation & Revision

Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to Student Accessibility Services for student issues or the Director of Equity and Compliance for employee issues, or their designee. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy.

This policy shall be reviewed every three years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time.

Wentworth will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy.

Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.

Review and Revision History

This policy was drafted by representatives from Student Accessibility Services, Housing and Residential Education, the Office of the Dean of Students, Human Resources, Office of Institutional Equity, and the Library. It was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on 07/26/2023.