Emotional Support Animals
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is defined as any animal that provides well‐being, comfort, aid, or emotional support to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability through companionship, nonjudgmental positive regard, affection, and close physical proximity. ESAs are restricted to the residence of the handler, and may not accompany him/her to other areas of the College.
A student wishing to request an ESA should follow Georgetown College’s procedures for requesting a housing accommodation, which can be done through the Disability Services Coordinator housed in the Student Wellness Center. These requests are due each spring, when housing applications are due. Mid‐Semester requests may sometimes be made but housing coordination has to be considered between the Disability Services Coordinator and Residence Life. These decisions will be made by an ESA Committee that meets once a month. Under no circumstances can same day requests be made.
The College will require a statement from a reliable third party indicating that the student has a mental or psychiatric disability causing substantial limitations to one or more life functions and that the animal would provide emotional support or other assistance that would ameliorate one or more of the symptoms of the disability.
A “reliable third party” is a professional who is familiar with the individual’s disability and the necessity for the requested accommodation. Must be a professional whose licensing is from student’s home residence state or Kentucky. These professionals include, but are not limited to, professionals who provide medical care, therapy, or counseling to persons with disabilities (e.g. physicians, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers).
Georgetown College, in consultation with the student (and other parties as deemed appropriate), will consider the criteria below in determining the making of reasonable accommodations and housing assignments for individuals with ESAs:
- ‐size of animal (what type of residence best accommodates the handler and animal)
- ‐type of animal (most reptiles and exotic species will not be allowed)
- whether the animal’s presence would force another individual from individual housing
- (e.g. serious allergies)
- ‐past behavioral history of the animal (e.g. does better with small, quiet environments versus large, noisy environments, etc.)
No ESA is allowed on campus until after the request has been officially approved by the ESA Committee and verbal confirmation made by the Disability Services Coordinator. The student must sign in writing when submitting a request that the animal is not on campus at that time. If the student is found to be in violation of this, the request consideration will be delayed until after the animal is removed from campus and the ESA Committee meets again.
ESA Handler Responsibilities:
Handlers granted the accommodation of an ESA in their residence hall shall be subject to the following rules, in addition to any other college rules and regulations not specifically related to ESAs.
The handler must:
- Keep the Animal in their Residence Hall individually assigned room at all times. An ESA must be contained within the handler’s privately assigned individual living space except to the extent the handler is taking the animal out for natural relief. When handler is away from housing, the animal must be crated/caged behind a locked door of the handler’s individual room
- The handler must also ensure that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for individuals who reside there.
- When the ESA is outside of the handler’s privately assigned living space, it must be in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness.
- Keep the Animal under Control. The ESA must be properly restrained and otherwise under the control of the handler at all times. The ESA is not permitted to run loose across campus.
- The animal will not be bathed or its cage/crate, or bedding cleaned using student housing or college facilities.
- Abide by Local Animal Laws and Ordinances. The handler must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals. It is the handler’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws, and regulations. For information regarding Scott County’s animal policies, please contact the Scott County Animal Humane Society. All vaccination records must be on record with Disability Services.
- Ensure the Animal is Well‐Cared For. The handler is required to ensure the well‐being of the animal’s health. This includes maintaining Flea/Tick/Heartworm medications, or other appropriate routine/maintenance medications for different species. College personnel shall not be required to provide care or food for any ESA, including, but not limited to, removing the animal during emergency evacuation for events such as a fire alarm. ESAs may not be left overnight in campus housing to be cared for by any other student or individual other than the handler. If the handler is to be absent from campus housing overnight or longer, the ESA must accompany the handler.
- Be responsible for Property Damage. The handler is required to clean up after and properly dispose of the animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner. The handler may be charged for any damage caused by his or her ESA beyond reasonable wear and tear to the same extent that other students are charged for damages beyond reasonable wear and tear.
- The handler’s living accommodations may also be inspected for fleas, ticks, or other pests if necessary as a part of the College’s standard inspections. If fleas, ticks, or other pests are detected through inspection, the handler will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls. If multiple ESAs live in that residence hall and the culprit for such pests cannot be identified, costs will be split between all residents on that hall with an ESA
- Notify Disability Services if the ESA is no longer needed. The ESA is allowed in campus housing only as long as it is necessary because of the handler’s disability. The handler must notify Disability Services in writing if the ESA is no longer needed. To replace one animal with a different animal, the student must file a new request with Disability Services.
- Approval for an ESA is valid only for the school‐year in which it is granted. Repeated requests for an ESA must occur every school‐year.
Removal of an ESA
Georgetown College may require the handler to remove the ESA from campus housing if:
- The ESA poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes substantial property damage to the property of others, including the College’s property;
- The presence of the ESA results in a fundamental alteration of a College program;
- The handler does not comply with the Handler’s Responsibilities set forth above;
- The presence of the ESA creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the College community.
These determinations will be made on a case‐by‐case basis by the ESA Committee, upon consideration of the animal’s behavior and the resident. The first incident will result in a verbal warning that will be signed in writing by the student and the Disability Services Coordinator. The second incident may result in handler given 48hrs to remove the animal from campus permanently. If an animal is removed, a written appeal letter may be submitted. Appeals should be submitted in writing with 48hrs after removal of animal to the Vice President for Student Life. This written appeal must explain solid proof that the violations were unfounded or a reason that circumstances have changed.
Should the ESA be removed from the premises for any reason, the handler is expected to fulfill his or her housing obligations for the remainder of the housing contract.