Assistance Animals

Assistance Animals and Service Animals for a Person with a Disability

Please Note: Exceptions to the UArts Animal Policy are only granted due to a fully documented disability.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act, students with disabilities may be eligible to have an emotional support animal in campus housing.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines an assistance animal as follows:

"An assistance animal is not a pet.  It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability."

Emotional Support Animals/Assistance Animals may be prescribed by an individual's treating clinician to alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.  The assistance performed by the animal must be directly related to the individual's documented disability.

Under the Fair Housing Act, a person may be eligible to have an animal in residence as a reasonable accommodation if the follow conditions are met:

  • The individual has a disability

  • The animal is necessary to afford the individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy campus housing; and

  • There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the assistance the animal provides.

  • There is an established relationship of support between the animal and the student. 

Applications for emotional support animals (ESAs) or must be supported by a medical diagnosis or substantiation of disability and should be made before July 1st for Fall Semester and November 1st for Spring Semester to ensure that proper arrangements can be made

Students requesting an Emotional Support Animal must provide clinical documentation on official letterhead signed by a qualified and credentialed practitioner, who is not a family member of the student.

Documentation must meet the following qualifications:

  • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional regarding the individual's disability or condition, and the impact of the condition upon a major life activity.

  • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional regarding the necessity of the assistance animal for the individual to use campus housing; and

  • A statement from an appropriate treating medical professional regarding the relationship between the student's disability and the assistance the animal provides.  The assistance performed by the animal must be directly related to the student's documented disability.

The University of the Arts reserves the right to take reasonable advance planning time in order to be able to review Emotional Support/Assistance Animal requests so as to determine eligibility and to identify housing that will meet the needs of a student with an assistance animal as well as the needs of any students or staff who may have allergies or phobias. 

Please include the following with your application for an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal.

  • A veterinarian's verification that the animal has all veterinary recommended vaccinations to maintain the animal's health and prevent contagious disease, as required by local ordinances and regulations.

  • A photo of the ESA so that a university ID can be made.

  • Documentation of a disability as described above.

Students requesting an ESA must complete the following:

1) Complete a Pre-Intake Form

2) Meet with Educational Accessibility.  You can make an appointment at

Please see our written policy on Support Animals at UArts: Support Animal Policy at UArts

Once approved for an Emotional Support Animal in Housing, the following policies apply:

  • UArts may not charge a student with a disability a surcharge for having an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal; however, if the animal causes any damage, UArts may charge for the cost of damages.

  • UArts and employees of the University are not responsible for the care or supervision of an Emotional Support/Assistance Animal.  This includes, but is not limited to providing food for the animal as well as cleaning up the animal's urine or feces. Pet hair and dander must also be cleaned up regularly.

  • An Emotional Support/Assistance Animal is not required to have special training, certification or to be licensed as an assistance animal; however, the animal shall be under the control of the individual at all times.

  • An approved Emotional Support/Assistance Animal is allowed in the student's room and in common areas of the residence hall.  Emotional Support/Assistance Animals are not permitted in any other areas of the campus outside of the accommodated student's assigned housing.

  • Animals must be housebroken and able to live on campus without creating a nuisance for other residents and members of the community.  Emotional Support/Assistance Animals must be caged/contained when students are in class or out of the residence halls.  Assistance animals should not be left unattended/unchecked in the residence hall for long periods of time.  If students will be leaving campus for the weekend or for breaks, they are required to take their animal with them or board them off campus.  Since the animal is permitted to remain on campus as an accommodation for a specific students, the student with the accommodation is solely responsible for the control, observation, and maintenance of the animal.  Other students should not serve as proxies to care for the animal.

  • Emotional Support/Assistance Animals must meet the license requirements for Pennsylvania and the city and county of Philadelphia.  Animals must wear designated licensing tags (when applicable).  Current licensing and veterinary records (where applicable) will be maintained by the Office of Educational Accessibility and must be updated yearly.

Service Animals

Per ADA regulations, Service Animals may enter University buildings without restriction or documentation.  Please see the Department of Justice's Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA. While documentation and registration is not required, we highly recommend that any student with a service animal contact OEA to discuss any academic concerns or plans.