Animals on Campus Are Not Pets
- Animals on Campus Are Not Pets
- Understanding Animals for Service, Support and Therapy
Therapeutic companions are a different animal from the beloved pet you might have left behind when you enrolled at Angelo State.
I would like to share information to answer questions, clear any confusion, and aid in maintaining the integrity of the function of therapeutic animal companions. I will speak primarily in terms of the impact and rules for college students on campus.
When people use the term assistance animal, they could be referring to an emotional support/comfort animal (ESA), a service animal (SA), or even a therapy animal. The laws differ for each title.
Angelo State University is up-to-date on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and laws that pertain to support/assistance animals. Review that information on the ASU Disability Services website to learn more.
The ASU Office of Student Affairs can answer questions regarding laws and campus policy. They are able to assist and offer a range of services not limited to animal assistance so be sure to visit with them if you can benefit from such services. And please note that our campus Health Clinic and Counseling Services is not equipped to evaluate or assess for the purpose of prescribing an ESA or helping procure a service animal.
I can relate to those who love animals and are missing theirs from home. It can be trying to go through a life struggle without a familiar furry friend. I really do get it, but the fact is, a college campus and its residence halls are not equipped to house everyone AND their pets.
Aside from the prohibitions of dorm life, it is costly and time consuming to care for an animal. It’s important to remind yourself that you are presently spending money on college classes that will one day allow you to earn a living wage. Then you will be free to spend any earnings you please on animals, if you so desire.
I love dogs: as pets, as emotional support, as service animals. Dogs are trained and used in the police force, in the military, and are able to assist disabled individuals in incredible ways. I am amazed by the services a dog can provide a human.
For perspective, consider this:
If you have an awesome pet, cool! I do, too. Celebrate the companionship and comfort your pet can give you but please do not misuse the terms ESA and SA in order to get around ASU’s Housing and Residential Programs or to dodge other local rules or laws.
It’s important to understand the protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the differences inherent in assistance animals. I believe it undermines the experience of the person with the disability in need of a service animal and does not honor the advocacy it took for the individual to gain access to a much-needed means of treatment when those without such need try to bypass the system and policies in place meant to protect people.
Most of you will have to leave your pet at your family home and visit during school breaks. While at ASU, I encourage animal lovers to consider volunteering at a local animal shelter or to look for a job at a kennel or with an animal welfare program. Also, be aware of the times that ASU hosts therapy animals and be sure to participate!