Shepherd University is committed to making reasonable accommodations to its rules, policies, and practices as required by law to afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity to access housing and any associated amenities, including granting reasonable accommodations for Emotional Support Animals.
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA), as defined by the Fair Housing Act (FHA), may provide a person: emotional support, calming, stability, and other kinds of support in a housing environment. Permission to have an ESA on campus allows for students with disabilities an equal opportunity to engage in residential life and be successful on Shepherd University’s campus. Under FHA, there must be an identifiable relationship between the student’s disabilities and the assistance or support the ESA provides in a residential setting. As opposed to a service animal, an ESA is not specifically trained to perform tasks for a person with disabilities, such as retrieving items or assisting during a medical situation. An ESA provides companionship and comfort and are therefore not considered Service Animals under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Once a student has been approved for an ESA, they are then considered to be an owner. No student may move into a residence hall with an ESA before they have received approval to be an owner from Accessibility Services.
Shepherd University is not responsible for the care or supervision of Emotional Support Animals. Owners are responsible for the cost, care, and supervision of assistance animals, including:
Compliance with West Virginia Laws
: The owner must be compliant to laws pertaining to animal licensing, leashing, vaccination, and owner identification
: The owner is responsible for keeping the animal clean, healthy, and under control, as well as taking effective action when it is out of control
: The owner is responsible for feeding and exercising (if applicable) the animal
: The owner is responsible for cleaning up after the animal in the residence and any other areas of the property as well as properly disposing of its waste.
Owner’s may not transfer daily care responsibilities for their animal to another person. This includes all of the above stated responsibilities. Any student with an ESA must abide by local, state and federal ordinance, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccinations, and other requirements for those animals. It is the individual’s responsibility to know and understand these requirements for the State of West Virginia.
Waste disposal via property plumbing is prohibited, but Shepherd University can provide guidance on where/how to appropriately dispose of animal waste. Shepherd University will not require any deposits or fees for ESAs. However, an owner may be charged for damage caused by the Emotional Support Animal to the same extent that Shepherd University would normally charge a person for room damage. The owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for any repairs to their space after they vacate. Owners must comply with the Shepherd University’s housing contract and Code of Conduct rules regarding noise, safety, and cleanliness. Shepherd University may revoke the student’s right to have an ESA on campus if there are any violations, including but not limited to: improper care of the animal, the animal becomes a direct threat to the health and safety of others, the animal poses an undue burden to the administration, the animal poses a threat or causes damage to physical property, or the animal causes frequent disruption to other residence.
The owner is required to be present when Shepherd University personnel or contractors enter their living space to do work. Failure to handle the ESA may result in a delay of services.
The owner is not required but is strongly encouraged to spay or neuter their ESA. If an ESA gives birth, the offspring may not be kept on campus for any reason.
The owner should be prepared for any unforeseen events on campus, including power outages, fires/fire drills, or other events which may put the ESA at risk. ESA’s are required to be leashed or in carriers when evacuating the building, and the University is not responsible for any alteration of care during these events.