Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)
Emotional Support Animals or ESAs are a category of animals that may provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. Some ESAs are professionally trained, but in other cases ESAs provide the necessary support to individuals with disabilities without any formal training or certification. Dogs are commonly used as ESAs, but any animal may serve a person with a disability as an ESA.
We encourage students to review the Wittenberg University Policy on Pets, Service Animals, and Assistance Animals for Resident Students for more information. No animals will be permitted on campus until they have been approved through the Office of Accessibility Services and Residence Life.
Student must also complete the confidential registration process with Accessibility Services, and submit the appropriate documentation.
After completing the request for accessibility services form, students need to submit appropriate documentation from a licensed health care provider or mental health professional. Students must provide documentation establishing the presence of a substantially limiting condition and describing its current impact on your academic success. This information is necessary for identifying possible accommodations. A clinical diagnosis is not synonymous with a disability. Evidence sufficient to render a clinical diagnosis may not be adequate to determine if an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity.
Service Animal refers to any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.
Under ADA laws, service animals are not required to register, wear any identification such as vests or tags, nor is there any paperwork that you can require of someone to prove that their animal is a service animal. Two questions are permitted:
- Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are a category of animals that may provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the ADA. Wittenberg University does not permit pets in the residence halls. However, fish are the only exception to the pet policy in suitable aquariums of ten gallons maximum.
Wittenberg University provides reasonable accommodations to Owners who have a documented disability. An ESA may be permitted to reside with their Owner in the Owner's on-campus residence if:
An ESA is prescribed by a licensed health care provider or mental health professional to an individual with a disability, and is an integral part of the person's treatment plan. However, Wittenberg University will not permit an ESA in the residence halls that poses a threat to the health or safety of others or would cause substantial physical damage to University property or to property of others; and or results in a fundamental alteration of the University’s Residence Life.
The Owner has provided appropriate documentation of disability to the Director of Accessibility Services. Please note: Wittenberg University has the right to request additional clarification or documentation of disability.
The Owner has reviewed the Wittenberg University Policy on Pets, Service Animals, and Assistance Animals for Resident Students, and received the accommodation from the Office of Accessibility Services and final approval from the Associate Dean of Residence Life.
If an ESA is approved:
- The Owner will receive a letter from Accessibility Services indicating the approval.
- The letter will be additionally sent to the Residence Life staff, Campus Police and Physical Plant.