S.U. Re-enforces Pet Policy
On December 18, 2019, a comprehensive campus pet policy was enforced effective immediately. The pet policy was based on the work of the Safety Committee and the endorsement of the Strategic Planning Committee.
In the email sent out to all Southwestern students, the reason for the pet policy is that “pets brought to campus pose a liability risk to the University and pose health and safety issues for the campus community […]The resources expended to respond to increasingly common and serious pet/animal incidents is causing a burden on the University.”
The pet policy continues to uphold the same rules for students with either an emotional support animal or a working service animal. Both types of assistance animals must fit certain criteria. For example, those who require an emotional support animal must be prescribed by either a healthcare or mental health professional. Those who require a working service animal must ensure that their pets have been trained to work or perform tasks to provide help towards any disabilities.
According to ADA Requirements, “Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA”.
Students who do not need an assistance animal are not permitted to have any pets on campus with the exception of fish in a properly maintained tank or container. Fraternities are currently each allowed to have one registered dog, however, this rule will be phased out by Fall 2020.
It is also important to note that the feral cats living on Southwestern’s property do not fall under the pet policy. This is due to how the feral cats are not technically pets and are already not allowed to enter University buildings.
“This sucks,” said junior, Alesha Lewis. “Because the dogs themselves are a part of the campus community as well. It’s not like dogs are going around attacking people.”
In contrast, an anonymous student said that it was, “…not fair for animals to live in dorm rooms.” The dorm rooms the anonymous source was referring to were the first and second year dorms on campus.
Unless the animal is a part of the exceptions outlined within the pet policy, animals are not allowed inside any University-controlled building at Southwestern. If a student were to fail to comply with the pet policy, a facility cleaning fee starting at $500 will be charged to the student’s account. Nonetheless, well-behaved pets are allowed outside University-controlled grounds, but they must be following the City of Georgetown’s leash and tagging laws.
Junior, Audrey Colegrove, is currently the owner of an emotional support animal named Dobby.
“I think it’s the same as the old pet policy, they’ve just realized they maybe need to enforce it,” Colegrove said.
When asked if this new enforcement was good or bad for current pet owners on campus, Colegrove said, “Bad for people who want animals on campus in general, but it’s good for people who want their ESAs or, more importantly, service dogs [to be] taken seriously.”
The comprehensive campus pet policy was sent out to students and enforced by Southwestern University during the winter break. Although little seems to have changed from the previous pet policy, a number of students will be greatly affected by this policy. Those who currently have their pet on campus will have to send them home, and those planning on bringing a pet to campus will not have the opportunity.