Animals on Campus

Title: Animals on Campus Policy
Policy Owner: Office of Institutional Equity
Applies to: Students, All Employees, Contractors, Vendors, Visitors, Guests and Other Third Parties
Campus Applicability: All Campuses, including UConn Health
Effective Date: May 10, 2024
For More Information, Contact Office of Institutional Equity
Contact Information: (860) 486-2943 & (860) 679-3563
Official Website: and

Click here to view a PDF, Printer Friendly copy of this policy.

Related Policies are:

Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence
Policy Statement: People with Disabilities

Related Documents are:

Animals in the Clinical Practice and Patient Care Areas
Frequently Asked Questions
Animal Related Program Registration Form


This policy provides the rules concerning individuals bringing animals on University Property. This policy applies to all University campuses. Specific procedures regarding the presence of animals in UConn Health clinical practice and patient care areas are outlined in the UConn Health Animals in the Clinical Practice Policy.


This policy applies to all individuals bringing an animal on University Property, including all campuses and UConn Health.
This policy does not apply to:

  • Fish in aquariums no larger than ten gallons as follows:
    • Within University housing, such aquariums are allowed without advance notice or permission;
    • Within employee workspaces, such aquariums are allowed only with prior written authorization of the Handler’s manager/supervisor. At any time, a manager may revoke approval for such an aquarium, requiring its immediate removal from the workspace;
    • The Handler has responsibility for maintaining the aquarium in a clean and sanitary manner and for any damage caused by the aquarium.
  • University-maintained fish in aquariums of any size located in waiting rooms or other public areas of UConn Health facilities and maintained by UConn Health, including John Dempsey Hospital and University Medical Group
  • Animals used in Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approved University research, education or testing. Animals used in classes on campus, based on requests by faculty for such use. Such requests may be granted only upon showing that the presence of the animal is for a bona fide educational purpose, and such purpose is clearly delineated on the course syllabus as a central topic in class. Prior permission must be obtained from the academic unit head, the dean and/or the Provost’s Office and the IACUC
  • Animals used in police, search and rescue operations on University Property
  • Animals trained for and used in a clinical therapeutic setting on campus, such as a counseling center
  • Appearances by the official mascot of the University and/or official mascots of other institutions as approved by event organizers
  • Animals accompanying individuals in clinical practice or patient care areas at UConn Health pursuant to the UConn Health Clinical Practice Procedures Regarding Animals.


Controlled Space: For purposes of this policy, Controlled Spaces are not Public Spaces. Controlled Spaces are defined as any indoor area owned or controlled by the University, and any outdoor area owned or controlled by the University with limitations on use or access (e.g., practice fields, stadiums, farm, tennis courts, etc.). Areas open to the public (i.e., streets, lawns, sidewalks, parking lots) with no limitations on access are not Controlled Spaces.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): Any animal specifically designated by a qualified medical provider that mitigates one or more identified impact(s) of an individual’s disability. Such may afford an individual with a disability an equal access to the living space, workplace, or other area, provided there is a nexus between the individual’s disability and the animal’s role in the individual’s treatment. ESAs are also commonly known as companion, therapeutic or assistance animals. ESAs are not Service Animals, nor provided specific protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act and its amendments.

Handler: An individual with a disability who is the owner and user, or trainer of a Service Animal or ESA, or the owner or individual bringing an animal onto University Property.

Pet: For purposes of this policy, a Pet is any animal that is not a Service Animal or ESA.

Public Spaces: For purposes of this policy, Public Spaces are indoor and outdoor areas that are open to the general public. Classrooms, residence halls and most employee workspaces are not generally considered Public Spaces.

Service Animal: Any dog or miniature horse specifically trained to perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. In some circumstances, a miniature horse may be considered a Service Animal. The tasks performed by a Service Animal must directly relate to the individual’s disability.

Service Animal in Training: For purposes of this policy, a Service Animal in Training is a dog or miniature horse that is being trained as a Service Animal. This includes a puppy that is being raised to become a Service Animal in Training.

University Property: University Property includes any area that is owned and operated by the University.


All individuals are generally prohibited from bringing animals into any buildings or other Controlled Spaces on University Property. However, individuals with disabilities are allowed to bring Service Animals and ESAs on and/or into Controlled Spaces as provided below. In addition, faculty and staff are permitted to have Pets in university-owned residential housing only to the extent permitted by the lease governing their rental agreement.  Exceptions for individuals in residence halls may be made at the sole discretion of the Executive Director of Residential Life or designee for exigent circumstances or other good cause shown consistent with the spirit and intent of this policy.

Service Animals

The University welcomes the presence of Service Animals assisting people with disabilities on its campuses consistent with the provisions of this policy and applicable law. A Service Animal is generally permitted to be on University Property in any place where the animal’s Handler is permitted to be. In certain limited situations, a Service Animal may be prohibited for safety and health reasons. The accompaniment of an individual with a disability by a Service Animal in a location with health and safety restrictions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate department representative(s) in collaboration with the Department of Human Resources and/or the Center for Students with Disabilities.

Members of the University community are prohibited from interfering in any way with a Service Animal, or the duties it performs.

Service Animals in Training

Connecticut law entitles any individual training a Service Animal to enter Public Spaces. A Service Animal in Training is not allowed in Controlled Spaces including classrooms, residence halls and employee work areas. The individual training a Service Animal must be authorized to engage in designated training activities by a Service Animal organization or an individual who volunteers for a Service Animal organization that authorizes such volunteers to raise dogs to become Service Animals.  Individuals training a Service Animal must carry photographic identification indicating authorization to train the animal. A Service Animal in Training, including a puppy that is being raised to become a Service Animal in Training, must be identified with either tags, ear tattoos, identifying bandanas (on puppies), identifying coats (on adult dogs), or leashes and collars.

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

Emotional Support Animals are approved on a case-by-case basis by engaging in the interactive intake process with the appropriate University entity. A student’s approved ESA is permitted within the individual’s privately assigned living space. An ESA outside the private individual’s living accommodations must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness.  ESAs are not allowed in any other Controlled Spaces without advance permission. ESAs are permitted to be in outdoor public areas to the same extent as Pets.

An ESA owned by an individual employed by the University may be permitted within the individual’s workplace as an accommodation for a disability but must be approved in advance by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Case Manager at the Department of Human Resources as outlined below.


Pets generally are not permitted in or on any Controlled Space on University Property and are permitted only in outdoor areas open to the general public.


Faculty, staff, or other students may not request documentation or proof that a Service Animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal.  When the need for the Service Animal is obvious, specific questions related to the Handler’s disability or need for the animal are not permitted. When the need for the Service Animal or its work is not obvious, authorized staff (including the Center for Students with Disabilities, ADA Coordinator, Human Resources ADA Case Manager, Campus Police or security, Facilities or Faculty) may ask the following questions only:

  1. Is this Service Animal required because of a disability?
  1. What work or task has the Service Animal been trained to perform?

An affirmative answer to the first question and a description of the tasks assigned to the animal completes the requirements for determining eligibility of a Service Animal.  However, if the Service Animal exhibits behavior incongruent with the task the animal is meant to provide or the Handler does not maintain control of the animal, authorized staff should report the incident(s) to the Center for Students with Disabilities or the Human Resources ADA Case Manager, who may then revisit the animal’s presence on campus.

A Service Animal or ESA must be supervised directly by the Handler, and the Handler must retain full control of the animal at all times while on University Property.  The animal must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a harness, leash or tether, unless the use of such devices would interfere with the animal’s work, or the animal is within the Handler’s dwelling. In those cases, the Handler must maintain control via voice, signal, or other effective designated controls.

Animals may not be left unattended at any time on University Property, except for Service Animals left in the Handler’s University residence or private office space or ESAs left in the Handler’s dwelling unit.  The Service Animal or ESA may be left unattended only for reasonable periods of time, as determined by the appropriate University staff based on the totality of the circumstances. The University may request impoundment of an ESA or Service Animal left for longer than a reasonable period of time. Owners of impounded animals will be held responsible for payment of any impound and/or license fees required to secure the release of their animals.

A Handler who leaves their Service Animal or ESA unattended for longer than a reasonable period of time will receive one warning, and if the behavior occurs a second time, the University reserves the right to require the Handler to remove the animal from campus and to prohibit the animal from being permitted back onto University Property.

All Handlers are responsible for compliance with state and local laws concerning animals (including registration, vaccinations, and tags), for controlling their animals, for cleaning up any waste created by the animal, and for any damage caused by the animal to individuals or property while on University Property.


Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Code.


UConn Health Animals in the Clinical Practice Policy


Animals on Campus FAQs

The Americans with Disabilities Act governs the use of Service Animals by individuals with disabilities. See 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.

The Fair Housing Act governs the use of Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s) by individuals with disabilities in housing. See 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq.

Connecticut state law regarding Service Animals may be found under C.G.S. § 46a-44.


Policy created: 06/09/2017

Revisions: 05/01/2019, 05/10/2024