8.09 Animals on University Owned or Controlled Property


To maintain campus health, safety and security standards relative to animals allowed on institutional property; to permit services that animals provide to students, faculty, staff, the institution and the community; and to identify the distinction between those animals permitted on and those excluded from institutional property.

Policy Statement

To protect public health and safety, the university regulates the kinds of animals allowed onto university-owned or controlled property. Service animals (as defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)), assistance animals (as defined by the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)), and working animals (as defined by this policy), are permitted as provided by law and this policy. Companion animals with a valid license, current vaccinations, under proper restraint (e.g. leashed), and accompanied by their owners, are permitted on campus grounds – but prohibited from entering campus facilities (e.g. administrative and academic buildings; residential facilities except where approved by the Housing & Dining Department), and from being on campus athletic and recreation fields. Individuals with animals are responsible for injury or damage caused by service animals, service-animals-in-training, assistance animals, working animals, and companion animals.

Types of Animals

1.    Service Animals

Service animals are dogs, or other animals defined by federal or state law, trained to do work or perform specific tasks directly related to an individual’s disability such as guiding an individual with impaired vision, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items. Service animals, including  service-animals-in-training, may accompany an individual with a disability or an individual training the animal in public facilities and accommodations or places to which the general public is invited (e.g. academic buildings, administrative offices, residence halls), as long as the animal is under control.

2.    Assistance Animals

Assistance animals are animals that provide therapeutic benefit to individuals with a disability, and are prescribed by a physician or licensed mental health professional. Unlike service animals, assistance animals require no specific training and do not provide specific service with activities of daily living - as their mere presence with the individual mitigates the effects of the disability. Assistance animals are permitted in university residence hall rooms, apartments, and houses, but are not permitted in nonresidential facilities on campus, including but not limited to dining centers, academic buildings, classrooms, computer labs, athletic facilities, administrative buildings, and office workspaces. Requests for permission to have assistance animals in residence areas must be made to Student Accessibility Services (student requests) or Faculty/Staff Disability Services (employee requests).

3.    Working Animals

Working animals are animals used: a) in academic courses or for education and research purposes; b) for law enforcement and rescue purposes; or c) under the direction of licensed mental health professionals employed by the university for therapeutic purposes on site at the Counseling Center or in public spaces. Working animals are permitted on campus by authorized individuals. The applicable Division head will determine if and when working animals are permitted on campus, in consultation with Student Accessibility Services (in relation to students) or Faculty and Staff Disability Services (in relation to employees). The review and approval of university owned or maintained animals for education or research purposes are under the jurisdiction of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which follows guidelines as adopted by federal regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health.

4.    Companion Animals

Companion animals (commonly known as pets) are animals living with individuals for purposes of pleasure, leisure time activity and companionship. Generally, companion animals are prohibited from entering campus facilities. Exceptions are provided for: a) the University President’s residence; b) University-owned houses; c) Residence Life Coordinator apartments; d) pet communities as identified by the Housing & Dining Department; and e) approved university programs involving animals.  In these instances, the applicable Division head will determine if and when companion animals are permitted and the type of companion animals permitted, in consultation with Student Accessibility Services (in relation to students) or Faculty and Staff Disability Services (in relation to employees).


Individuals Utilizing Service Animals

Students with disabilities who utilize service animals may contact Student Accessibility Services for assistance. Student Accessibility Services will assist each student as appropriate. 

Employees with disabilities who utilize service animals may contact Faculty and Staff Disability Services within Human Resource Services. Human Resource Services may then communicate with the applicable campus department/supervisor regarding the employee’s accommodation related needs.

When not readily apparent that an animal is a service animal, university personnel may ask only two questions to determine if the animal is permitted, i.e., (1) is the animal a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

Individuals Utilizing Assistance Animals

Residence students with disabilities who utilize assistance animals will provide Student Accessibility Services recent documentation from a physician or licensed mental health professional that:  a) verifies the individual meets FHA’s definition of a person with a disability; b) describes how the animal assists the individual; and c) shows the relationship between the individual’s disability and the need for the assistance. If approved, Student Accessibility Services will then communicate with the Housing & Dining Department regarding the student’s accommodation-related needs.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Animals on Campus

Owners and keepers of animals on campus are responsible for their animals at all times. This responsibility includes complying with all state laws and local animal ordinances, as well as all University and University Housing & Dining policies and guidelines, including the following requirements:

  • Providing appropriate restraint, control and supervision of animals at all times.
  • Providing animals with appropriate care, including food, water, shelter, health care and humane treatment.
  • Cleaning up and disposing of all animal waste (both indoors and outdoors) in a timely and effective fashion.
  • Confining animals when leaving them alone in a university-owned residence; and not leaving animals alone for a time period in excess of six consecutive hours per 24 hours.
  • Not allowing odor, noise, damage, or other behavior of animals that disturbs others or damages university grounds, facilities or property.
  • Having animals wear a current Cedar Falls, Iowa pet license, rabies vaccination tag, and personal identification tag when applicable. 

Exceptions and Exclusions

An animal may be prohibited from or required to leave a facility on campus if the animal’s behavior or presence poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, an animal that displays aggressive/vicious behaviors toward people or other animals may be excluded. 

Animals may be prohibited in areas where their presence fundamentally alters the nature of a program or activity or is disruptive. Examples include, but are not limited to, research labs, areas requiring protective clothing, and food preparation areas. 

An animal may be prohibited if the owner/keeper does not adhere to the Responsibilities of Individuals with Animals on Campus (above), or if the animal substantially interferes with the reasonable use of housing or public accommodation by others.

Animals that have been abandoned or found within university facilities that are not a part of a university-sponsored program may be impounded and/or placed with a third party, at the expense of the owner or individual who claims the animal. 

Violations and Complaints

UNI is committed to ensuring that the needs of all individuals with disabilities are met; and will work to resolve any complaints, conflicts or problems as expeditiously as possible. 

Animals that are out of control, presenting a disruption, or posing a threat to the campus community should be reported to the UNI Department of Public Safety, 319-273-2712. 

 Concerns with animals in the residence halls, specifically alleged violations of the Responsibilities of Individuals with Animals on Campus (above) should be reported to the UNI Housing & Dining Office (319) 273-2333. Individuals who have allegedly violated these requirements will be referred to the student conduct process."

Non-emergent concerns with animals in academic buildings, administrative offices, or other areas of campus, can be directed to the Dean of Students office (319) 273-2332. Concerns of alleged policy violations will be referred to the student conduct process. Other concerns may be managed in consultation with other offices as appropriate, including but not limited to, Student Accessibility Services and Human Resources.

Individuals with service or assistance animals who feel they have been treated unfairly, discriminated against, or harassed should consult with the UNI Office of Compliance and Equity Management, 319-273-2846.


University Housing & Dining and Office of the Dean of Students, approved February and April, 2019
University Council, approved April 15, 2019
President and Executive Management Team, approved May 6, 2019
[Last reviewed and/or updated 12/2014]