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EIU Student Disability Services

Emotional Support Animal Policies & Procedures

The university is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities.  Students who seek reasonable accommodations for disabilities should contact Student Disability Services. 

With respect to a request for an emotional support animal, the university will determine, on a case-by-case basis, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, whether the animal is a reasonable accommodation on campus. In doing so, the university will balance the needs of the individual with the impact of animals on other campus patrons. A student may keep an ESA in a residence hall, as a reasonable accommodation if:

  1. The student has a documented disability.

  2. The student has documentation of established mental health care and coping strategies.

  3. The animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

  4. There is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

See Eligibility for Accommodations & Services documentation guidelines.

For students seeking reasonable accommodation, an accommodation review process will be undertaken, and may involve additional conversations between Student Disability Services and the requesting student. Upon an interactive process with the student, Student Disability Services will make a determination of the reasonableness of each specific emotional support accommodation requests, including the nexus between the disability and the assistance an identified animal will provide.


The student handler must be registered with Student Disability Services with a documented disability and Student Disability Services has agreed that the animal is necessary to use and enjoy the residence hall and provide proper assistance to the student.

To begin the registration process:

Once approved:


  1. The handler must ensure that all local and state ordinances are followed related to being an owner/handler of an animal. This includes leash laws and vaccination requirements.

  2. The handler will work with housing to determine appropriate locations for animal to relieve itself. This will also include appropriate methods of waste disposal.

  3. The handler must ensure that animal follows housing policies in regards to noise, damage, and maintaining a clean environment. Any damage will result in the handler paying restitution.

  4. The handler must maintain control of the animal at all times to ensure that the animal does not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. This includes inside and outside of all university buildings while on campus property.

  5. Regular bathing and grooming of animal is required to avoid significant odors, shedding, and fleas. Animals are never to be bathed or groomed in community or public bathrooms or showers. Groomers are available in the Charleston area.

  6. The handler will keep the animal kenneled when out of the room for the safety of the animal. Sometimes housing staff need to enter the room when the handler is out of the room and the animal would be at risk of running out of the room.

  7. The handler will provide an emergency contact for the animal.The animal is not to be left alone overnight (or an unreasonable length of time without the student present). As a result, the animal needs to go with the student when the student is leaving campus overnight (for job, overnight with friend, etc.).

    • Local contact to pick up animal immediately up to 2 days.

    • AND for removal of pet after 2 days.

  8. The animal is not to be left alone overnight (or an unreasonable length of time without the student present). As a result, the animal needs to go with the student when the student is leaving campus overnight (for job, overnight with friend, etc.).

  9. The University is not responsible for the care, feeding, and other related expenses of the animal.

  10. Animals will be reevaluated each semester and upon any complaints and will be asked to leave if any violation of policy exists.

  11. Roommate Suite Agreement required. Student will be responsible for providing updated Roommate Agreement to SDS if there is a change in roommates. Form may be accessed on SDS web page or by contacting SDS.

  12.  Emotional Support Animal Policies and Procedures for Students form required.

  13. Student must provide SDS with vaccination records with initial ESA paperwork and provide SDS updated vaccination records each year.

  14. This ESA Form is for the approved animal only. If the animal passes away, runs away or is removed from campus, this process starts over.


Related Pages

Contact Information


McAfee Gym, Room 1272
Fax: 217-581-7208


Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. & 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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