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Animals on campus (STudents)

As reflected in institutional policy (BOG policy #67), dogs and other pets (except service animals and approved emotional support animals) are not permitted in Institution buildings or on Institution property. 

We recognize that having a service animal on campus or an ESA in the residence hall can be a real benefit for someone with a significant disability.  The practical limitations of our campus and housing arrangements make it necessary to carefully consider the impact of the request for an animal on campus on both the student and the campus community.

Students who have service animals or emotional support animals should adhere to the following procedures regarding having their animals on campus.

All students requesting accommodations are required to participate in an interactive process through the Student Accessibility Resources office.  The process includes submitting a request for accommodations form, participating in an access consultation and submitting appropriate documentation.  Together, the information gathered through these steps will be utilized to determine which accommodations for which you will be eligible at WVSU.

Some important considerations and information:

  • Emotional support animals are considered under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The FHA indicates a person may keep an assistance animal in his/her residence hall or campus apartment as a reasonable accommodation if:

    • The individual has a disability;

    • The animal is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing; and 

    • There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

  • When approved, emotional assistance animals are primarily allowed in the residence hall room or campus apartment for which the individual with a disability is assigned by the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
  • ​The process has two stages: a determination if the ESA is necessary based on the documentation AND a determination if it is reasonable to be implemented by the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
  • It is important to remain in contact with the Director of Disability and Accessibility Resources who will assist you through the process outlined below. 

  • Monitor your WVSU email account for updates regarding your request which will be sent from
  • It can take several weeks or more to complete all the steps.  This is partially dependent on your mental healthcare provider's speed of response as well as the quality and depth of the documentation submitted.
  • ​The process must be completed prior the housing deadline for the given semester.​  The deadline for submitting a request for an emotional support animal is one month prior to the housing deadline.

Determination of Necessity

When you are ready to begin the request process, complete the steps outlined below:
STEP 1 - Submit Request for Accommodations Form
  • The preferred method is the online form (see link below).  A printed copy is available upon request.
  • For assistance completing the form, you may request this by email, text, phone or in-person at 117 Sullivan Hall East


STEP 2 - Submit Documentation 

  • Documentation must be from a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or other licensed provider of mental health services who is familiar with you and your situation.

    • Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. Under the Fair Housing Act, a housing provider may request reliable documentation when an individual requesting a reasonable accommodation has a disability and disability-related need for an accommodation that are not obvious or otherwise known. In HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal. (Excerpt from 2020 HUD Guidance)

    • By contrast, many legitimate, licensed health care professionals deliver services remotely, including over the internet. One reliable form of documentation is information from a person’s health care professional that confirms a person’s disability and/or need for an animal when the provider has personal knowledge of the individual.

  • It must include sufficient detail to make it clear you are an individual with a disability as well as a clear connection between your disability and why the ESA is required in order for you to use and enjoy university housing

  • You are highly encouraged to utilize the Disability Verification Form to obtain the documentation for this request as it allows your mental health provider to thoroughly explain why an emotional support animal is required for you to reside in and enjoy the residence hall.

  • Your mental health provider may utilize their own format as long as answers to the questions from the verification form are included.

    • NOTE - the link for the form is restricted to users in WVSU, to access the documentation form links you must be signed in and utilize your WVSU email address

  • You will need to sign on page 1 to provide consent before forwarding to your provider.

  • Once completed, you or the provider can submit the PDF form using the link below.



The following are inquiries utilized by the Staff with the Disability and Accessibility Resources unit to guide the individualized assessment:
  • Nature and Degree of Impairment - Does the individual have a disability (an impairment that substantially limits major life activities)?
  • Substantial Limitations - How is the individual substantially limited? (how do the symptoms of the disability substantially limit a major life activity)?
  • Barriers - What barrier will/is the individual experiencing that would make it difficult for them to live in University housing and how is the barrier related to the individual’s disability?
  • Effect of ESA on Impairment and Barriers – What has been the individual’s experience with pets (dog or cat, etc.) in the past? Why does the individual believe the ESA is a good idea? Is there anything specific that the animal does to help the individual? What symptoms does the individual anticipate or knows having an ESA will help control?  How will/does the presence of the ESA mitigate or address that barrier?
  • Past History - Has the individual lived in a communal residence such as dorm previously? If yes, how does the individual describe the experience?  Did they have an ESA in that setting?  Why/Why not? If not, what has changed since the previous experience?
  • Responsibilities - What challenges does the individual anticipate having in caring for an ESA on campus and how do they plan to address them?

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Director of Disability and Accessibility Resources.

Reasonableness Determination:

Once the animal is determined necessary based on the totality of the documentation, the next determination the university will undertake will be the reasonableness of the animal being requested.  With regards to emotional support animals, the accommodations must be reasonable and the Office of Housing and Urban Development does not require housing providers to permit animals that:
  • pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others (that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation); 
  • would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others (including campus housing); 
  • would pose an undue financial and administrative burden on the University; or 
  • would fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s operations.  
The University will consider the following factors, among others, in determining whether the presence of the animal is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with an ESA. the University will consider whether:
  • Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burdens
    • The animal's presence would interfere with another individual’s use and enjoyment of housing
    • The animal's presence otherwise violates other individuals' right to peace and quiet;
    • The animal’s presence would force another individual from individual housing such as for serious allergies or intense fear;
  • Fundamental Alteration of University Housing Policies
    • The size of the animal is too large for available assigned housing space
    • The animal would make physical modification of the dwelling unit necessary or require the University Housing to provide services that are not part of its usual services in order to accommodate it.
  • Poses a Direct Threat
    • The animal is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;
    • The animal poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the individual or others
    • The animal causes or has caused excessive damage to a leased space beyond reasonable wear and tear.
Animals must be those commonly kept in households such as a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes. For purposes of this assessment, reptiles (other than turtles), barnyard animals, monkeys, kangaroos, and other non-domesticated animals are not considered common household animals.

As part of the determination process, students requesting an emotional support animal will be required to attest to the behavior of the animal.  For dogs or cats, the standardized, norm-referenced C-BARQ and Fe-BARQ assessment instruments will be utilized.  For other domesticated animals, a version of the C-BARQ will be utilized in a criterion referenced manner.  For more information about the assessment, visit 

The institution further will be looking at the guidelines for the AKC Canine Good Citizen program as guidance for expected behavior of assistance animals.  Items include but are not limited to accepting a friendly stranger, walking through crowds, reaction to another animal, and reaction to distractions.  For more information about the AKC program, visit
Once the Housing Committee determines the accommodation request is reasonable and final approval is granted, the following will occur:
  • The Disability and Accessibility Resources unit will notify the individual the request has been approved.
  • DAR and housing unit staff will work with the individual in order to complete all further necessary forms.   
An approved emotional support animal may not reside in University housing until the following forms have been completed and submitted: 
  • Animal in University Housing Agreement
  • Animal registration form and picture
  • Required veterinary records 
  • Roommate/Suitemate Acknowledgement Form (if applicable).

Should there be conflicting considerations between the individual approved for an emotional support animal and the needs of roommate(s) or apartment mate(s) such as health/allergy conditions or fear of the animal, the University will engage with all parties involved.  The staff of Disability and Accessibility Resources will conduct an interactive process with the individual who has health/allergy conditions or fear of animals that rise to the level of a disability.  For those who do not meet this threshold, the staff with the Housing unit and any administrators in the affected area will be involved.  In either case, the University will come to a resolution that protects the rights of the individual with a disability as well as takes into consideration the needs and rights of the other parties involved.


If the request for an emotional support animal is denied, the individual will receive written confirmation of the denial and a detailed explanation of why the request was denied. The individual will have the opportunity to submit additional information to support their request and to have the request reconsidered.  The individual also may utilize the discrimination grievance procedure through the Civil Rights and Title IX office.

Removal of Assistance Animal

At any time, the University may require the individual to remove the animal from university housing if: 
  • the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes property damage to the property of others;
  • the animal’s presence results in a fundamental alteration of a university program;
  • the owner does not comply with the Animals in University Housing agreement; or
  • the animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the University community.
The University will base such determinations upon the consideration of the behavior of the particular animal at issue, and not on speculation or fear about the harm or damages an animal may cause. Any removal of an emotional support animal will be done in consultation with the staff with Disability and Accessibility Resources. The owner has the right to appeal by following the Disability Discrimination grievance process. The owner will be afforded all rights of due process and appeal as outlined in that process.

Unless exigent circumstances require otherwise, the owner will have 48-72 hours to remove the animal from the residence hall. If university housing cannot contact the owner to remove the animal, housing will contact the alternative caregiver listed on the Animal Registration form. If the alternative caregiver is not available, the University Police Department will be notified to remove the animal off the premise and taken to the local animal control facility, the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society. Should the emotional support animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the owner is expected to fulfill his/her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.
Animals on Campus - Disability Services


Michael Casey, MS, CRC, ADAC, CDF, LCAS

Disability & Accessibility Resources

Phone/Text:             (681) 533-0850
Office:                       117 Sullivan Hall East

Monday - Friday
Fall/Spring   8:30am - 5:00pm
Summer      8:00am - 4:00pm

ESA Request FORMDocumentation form

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