Assistance Animal Policy


The purpose of this policy is to outline needs and requirements for allowing both service and emotional support animals on campus for all students, visitors and temporary residents.



It is the general policy of Hesston College that members of the campus community may NOT bring animals into campus facilities. Subject to this policy, however, students, faculty or staff may be allowed to have a service animal (dog) in campus facilities where animals would typically not be permitted. Also, subject to this policy, students residing in college housing may request as an accommodation that an emotional support animal be allowed to reside in the student’s college residence.

Section 1. Definitions

Service Animals
As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. The dog must also be trained to behave properly in places of public accommodation. Dogs that are not trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a disability, including dogs that are used purely for emotional support, are not service animals. ADA accommodation requests will also be considered, as required by the ADA, for miniature horses. With protections from the ADA, service animals are permitted in most locations and situations on campus.
Emotional Support Animals
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that has been prescribed for a person by their licensed mental health professional in a properly formatted letter. This letter should state that the person is determined to be emotionally or psychiatrically disabled and that the presence of the animal is necessary for the disabled person’s mental health. ESAs do not require specific task-training as it is the presence of the animal that mitigates the negative symptoms associated with a person’s disorder. The Fair Housing Act offers protections for ESAs as related only to housing on campus.
Therapy Animals
A therapy animal is an animal (normally a dog) that has been obedience trained and screened for its ability to interact favorably with humans and other animals. The primary purpose of a therapy animal is to provide affection and comfort to people in locations such as hospitals, retirement/nursing homes, schools, disaster areas, and to people with learning difficulties. Therapy animals are not protected; however, they may be permitted on campus on a case-by-case basis.
A pet is an animal kept for ordinary use or companionship. Pets are not considered as assistance animals. Pets are not protected, and are not permitted on campus. (See HC Student Handbook on Animals/Pets in the Residence Halls). Missing your pet is not a reason to request this accommodation.
A person with a service or therapy animal.

Section 2. Service Animal Policy

In accordance with Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Kansas White Cane Law (K.S.A. 39-1101, et seq.), Hesston College allows a person with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal, which is generally limited to a dog. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “…a dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items.” The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.

The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship does not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of defining a service dog. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Students with service dogs are permitted to bring their service dog in all areas of a place of public accommodation. This includes any college housing assigned to the student. Individuals are required to provide appropriate care for their service animal. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. An individual may be asked to remove their service animal from college facilities if the dog is out of control and the individual does not take effective action to control the dog. An individual may also be asked to remove their service animal if it is not housebroken. Although an individual with a service animal is not required to pay a damage deposit, the individual may be charged for any damage caused by the animal.

In certain circumstances, a service animal under the ADA may include a miniature horse. Advance approval from the Disability Services Office is required before a miniature horse will be allowed to accompany a person with a disability into campus facilities.

Service Animal Qualifications

  • A service animal is trained to provide a service or task directly related to the handler’s disability.
  • A service animal may accompany the person with a disability wherever the animal’s service is needed on campus.
  • A service animal needs to be at least 9 months old and fully housebroken.
  • A service animal is not a pet.
  • Service animals are approved only for students who have a verifiable need as defined by the law.

Service Animal Request and Approval
Requests should be made as soon as practicably possible before moving into college housing. A service animal will be approved when the required documentation for the student’s disability is received by the disability services coordinator. Verification of the student’s disability includes documentation that identifies diagnosed disability and clearly demonstrates that the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Section 3. Emotional Support Animal Policy

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in accordance with the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, individuals with a disability may qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) as a reasonable accommodation in campus housing facilities that otherwise impose restrictions or have prohibitions on non-service animals in residence.

The health and safety of Hesston College students, faculty, staff and the ESA is an important concern; therefore, each request for such an accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. Only in cases where animals and the relevant facts satisfy the applicable criteria described below will the animal be exempt from rules that otherwise restrict or prohibit animals being on campus.

Requests for an accommodation regarding emotional support animals should be supported by sufficient information or documentation for proper consideration of the request.

Emotional Support Animal Qualifications

  • Unlike a service animal, an ESA does not need to be trained to provide a service or task
  • Also Unlike a service animal, an ESA does not accompany the person with a disability at all times.
  • ESAs need to be at least 9 months old and fully housebroken.
  • An ESA is not a pet.
  • ESAs are approved only for students who have a verifiable need as defined by the law. Verification includes documentation that identifies disability, clearly demonstrates that the disability substantially limits one or more major life activities, and explains how the requested ESA accommodation addresses this need or limitation.

ESA Request and Approval
All requests are reviewed by a committee of employees convened by the disability services coordinator, including the supervising vice president of student life (or their designee), a resident director and a representative of the Campus Facilities department.

Hesston College will accept and consider requests for reasonable accommodation in college housing at any time. The individual making the request for accommodation can request a meeting with the disability services coordinator for information about the request. Requests should be made as soon as practicably possible before moving into college housing. The deadline to have completed the ESA application including all required documentation, is 60 days prior to the beginning of the semester. However, if a request is made for an accommodation fewer than 60 days before the individual intends to move into college housing, Hesston College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the first semester or term of occupancy. If the need for accommodation arises when an individual already resides in college housing, they should contact the disability services coordinator and complete the request for accommodation as soon as possible. Hesston College cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received.

Fall 2023 deadline is Thursday June 22 2023.
Spring 2023 deadline is Monday November 13 2024.

Access Restrictions & Assistance Animal Housing Policies
All approved ESAs, given they have been established as necessary, are allowed in the approved student’s residence hall room and are not permitted in other areas of the college (e.g., dining facilities, the library, academic buildings, athletic buildings or facilities, classrooms, labs, etc.). Specific guidelines for ESAs will be given to students in the form of an ESA agreement if approval is granted. Students should be aware that the possession of an ESA may limit their housing options e.g. specific dorm, as the college balances appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities with students who have allergies and/or animal fears. Consequently, advance notice (as soon as possible) of the need for an animal is essential to the college providing a smooth transition for the student.

Given the uniqueness of college housing, which includes the assigning of roommates for individuals and the requirement of individuals to share a room or house in college residence halls, administration must ensure the presence of an ESA does not cause undue burden or fundamentally alter college housing. Hesston College reserves the right to assign an individual with an ESA to a single room (additional charges will apply) or a double room as a single room without a roommate (additional charges will apply).

Accommodation Duration and Change Policies
The ESA is allowed in college housing only as long as it is necessary because of the owner’s disability. The usage of the ESA is seen as a part of the overall treatment plan and will be re-evaluated every academic year requiring the owner to provide new paperwork indicating ongoing need for the animal.

The owner will be expected to participate in all ongoing treatment (i.e., medication, regular meetings with a therapist, etc.) as recommended by their specialist.

The owner must notify the disability services coordinator in writing if the ESA is no longer needed or is no longer in the residence.

To replace an ESA, the new animal must be necessary because of the owner’s disability and the owner must follow the procedure in the policy if requesting a different animal.

Policy Restrictions and Fines
Animals are not permitted on campus before or during the evaluation period. If an owner does not follow this policy, they jeopardize approval of the ESA request and will be fined $50 for each day the animal is on college property and will be responsible for any charges incurred by the college for additional cleaning and pest spraying.

In all cases, the owner of the ESA is responsible for the animal’s behavior. The removal of any ESA and any necessary cleaning, repairs and/or pest control will be done at the expense of the resident responsible who will also be subject to disciplinary action. Residents will be permitted to have no more than one animal per dorm room due to the confined residential living space and any exceptions will be reviewed and made on an individualized basis by the ESA Review Team described above.


Section 4. Approval Process

Assistance Animals may not be brought into college housing without expressed approval of college officials.

Students in need of an assistance animal must make a formal accommodation request to the disability services coordinator.

All requests are reviewed by a committee of employees convened by the disability services coordinator, including the supervising vice president of student life (or their designee), a resident director and a representative of the Campus Facilities department.

Students must submit requests well in advance of housing needs, as all requests will be reviewed and processed within 60 days of receipt. Review of untimely requests may be significantly delayed.

Section 5. Service Animal Accommodation Request Process

To submit a request, the student should submit the “Accommodation Request and Consent Form” found at as well as any required documentation to support the request.

Section 6. ESA Accommodation Request Process

Students wishing to request an ESA must complete the following steps prior to having their requests reviewed:

  1. Submit a letter, written by the student, explaining the need for the ESA, which includes the following:
    1. The nature of the disability and the accommodation requested
    2. Date of disability diagnosis and prescription for the accommodations needed
    3. Type of animal and description, include age of the animal and approximate weight, height and length and a photo of the animal.
  2. Submit a signed letter on professional letterhead from the student’s healthcare provider (licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist) who is qualified to diagnose related disability and recommend treatment. The healthcare provider must have evaluated and treated, face-to-face, the student making the request. The letter must include the following:
    1. Clear identification of the disability and date of diagnosis
    2. How the disability limits one or more major life activities
    3. How the ESA meets this need or addresses the limitation. Specifically, the documentation must address how the ESA will meet a disability-related need within the housing area.</li.
    4. Type of animal prescribed
  3. After the letters of request and required documentation have been submitted, the college will review the request and evaluate the documentation presented. Upon receiving approval from the disability services Office, the following must be completed before the ESA is allowed on campus. The student must:
    1. Supply documentation that the animal is spayed or neutered and that all vaccinations are current, including rabies vaccination, for the approved ESA before the animal is allowed on campus.
    2. Pay a $350 cash deposit before the ESA is allowed on campus. This deposit will be refunded at the end of the academic year or when the student moves out of the residence hall provided there are no damages caused by the ESA. Should there be damages the cost of those would be deducted from the deposit and any remaining balance would be refunded. Any damages above $350 would also be the responsibility of the handler.
    3. Sign and return the Emotional Support Animal Agreement.

Section 7. Handler Responsibilities

Control Requirements
While legal access rights are afforded to users of service animals, the access comes with the responsibility of ensuring that the animal behaves and responds appropriately at all times.

  • The animal must be on a leash at all times. It should never be permitted to wander around off leash except if the animal is working.
  • The handler must be in full control of the animal at all times.
  • The animal must be as unobtrusive as possible.
  • The animal must be well groomed (controlling odor, dander and pests such as fleas).

An assistance animal must be well behaved and its handler must ensure that the animal does not engage in behaviors that would be a direct threat to the health and safety of others. When a service animal or emotional support animal is determined to be out of control, the infraction will be treated on an individual basis through the supervising vice president of student life, disability services coordinator or designee. If the animal poses a threat to the safety of others, local police may be part of the collaborative team to determine the outcome resulting from the behavior. Consequences may include, but are not limited to, muzzling a barking dog, refresher training for the animal and its handler, or exclusion from college facilities.

Designated Housing
Hesston College has designated Kaufman Court, B Side, for assistance animals and will require first and second year students, with an approved assistance animal, to reside in this designated housing. Students in their third and fourth year who wish to live in upper level campus housing may submit a request to have their assistance animal approved for said housing.

Access Restrictions
Accepted emotional support animals will be permitted in and around the living area of the handler. ESAs are not permitted in other areas of campus.

Service animals shall be permitted to accompany that student at all school functions, whether in or outside the classroom. They will be considered as a necessary accessory (such as a wheelchair) and allowed at all times. Access will be restricted to the service animal where the presence of the animal fundamentally alters the setting, where there is a safety concern or where otherwise restricted by another law/ordinance. Some examples of this could be restrictions to certain areas of a residence hall, in clinical practicums of nursing and health sciences programs or in laboratories that could pose a safety risk. Should a laboratory or classroom setting be determined unsafe, a team of individuals including Student Support Services, the professor or laboratory professor(s), and the Student Success team will provide reasonable accommodations to assure the individual equal access to the activity.

Should a service animal become disruptive or out of control of the handler, or an animal is not housebroken, college staff may request that the animal be removed from the premises. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not signify that the dog is out of control. Should the animal be excluded due to being out of control, the college will give the individual who uses the service animal the opportunity to remedy the control deficiencies in order to continue to participate in the service, program or activity.

Relief Areas
Relief areas will be designated on an individual basis with the collaboration of the Student Support Services and Campus Facilities department personnel. It is the handler’s responsibility to be aware of the animal’s need to relieve itself and act accordingly.

The animal’s waste must be removed into a proper receptacle. Individuals needing assistance to clean up after their animals should notify the supervising vice president of student life or disability services coordinator so that alternative arrangements may be agreed upon. If an animal urinates or defecates inside a building, or in another area that requires cleaning or maintenance, the handler must notify Campus Facilities department and will be responsible for the cost of cleaning and/or repair.

Section 8. Conflicting Disabilities

Persons who have asthma, allergies or other medical conditions affected by the presence of animals are asked to contact the supervising vice president of student life or disability services coordinator. The person impacted by the presence of the animal may be required to provide verifiable medical documentation to support their claim. The needs of both persons will be considered in resolving the issue.

If an allergy or other conflict resulting from the animal’s presence within a residence hall cannot be resolved agreeably, then residence life staff, the supervising vice president of student life and the disability services coordinator will collaborate to determine a solution. In the event of a conflict in living spaces, the first person assigned to the residence hall (whether the animal owner or person allergic to said animal) will remain in the assigned housing. When there are conflicting disabilities, untimely requests for an assistance animal will result in denial of the request or being required to move to designated assistance animal housing.

Section 9. Complaints

Students with complaints regarding the animal and its behavior should contact the Disability Services Coordinator or a member of the Student Life team.

If there is any complaint regarding the animal and its behavior, the supervising vice president of student life or designee should contact the student and, in collaboration with the disability services coordinator, inform the student of the policies regarding service animals.

Section 10. Violations

Unapproved animals in the dorms or other campus facilities is a violation of this policy and will result in a fine of $50 per day the unapproved animal was in campus facilities.

Other violations of this policy may result in rescinding approval of an assistance animal or other fines and sanctions determined by the Student Life team on a case by case basis.

Section 11. Additional Considerations and Reminders

  • Animals are not permitted on campus during the evaluation period. And students with unapproved animals on campus will be fined $50 per day for the presence of the unapproved animal.
  • Animals are not permitted on campus unless approval has been granted in writing, an ESA agreement has been signed regarding ESA approval and the deposit has been paid.
  • ESA approval is by definition a housing accommodation, and all other restrictions of animals in other parts of campus remain in place.
  • Approval for the ESA is for the specified period of time only. Further requests may be required if the ESA is needed for multiple semesters/years.
  • Designated housing areas will be used for approved ESA requests.
  • Hesston College reserves the right to enforce all rules for the use of ESAs through the ESA Agreement.
  • ESAs are not allowed anywhere on campus, outside of the approved residence hall room, where animals are not normally allowed.
  • An ESA may be removed from campus if it is found in any other building on campus other than the approved residence hall room.
  • The college reserves the right to revoke approval granted for the ESA in the campus residence hall if the owner violates the ESA Agreement.

Related Documents:
1. Emotional Support Animal Agreement
2. Disability Accommodations Request Form

Student Handbook 2023-24