Emotional Support Animal Policy

An "Emotional Support Animal" (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional or other support that mitigates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability.

Hutchinson Community College (HutchCC) has designated the Office of Accessibility Services to determine whether a request for an accommodation due to a disability is reasonable and necessary. An individual may request to keep a support animal as an accommodation in all areas of Student Housing if the criterion set forth in this policy and accompanying agreement is met. ESA's are only allowed within the residence halls.

The student must register with the Office of Accessibility Services and provide supporting documentation of the disability to support the need for this accommodation. Documentation must include a signed letter on professional letterhead from a licensed physician, psychiatrist, social worker or mental health professional that states:

  1. The nature of the disabling condition or impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; and
  2. The animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use student housing; and
  3. The identifiable support that the animal provides that alleviates at least one of the identified symptoms or effects of the disability.

An ESA will not be permitted in the residence hall that: 

  1.   Poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others;
  2.   Causes substantial physical damage to the property of others;
  3.   Poses an undue financial or administrative burden for HutchCC; or
  4.   Fundamentally alters the nature of housing operations.

Students will not be required to pay a deposit for their support animal, but they will be required to reimburse HutchCC for any damage their animals cause beyond normal wear and tear.

Students will adhere to the Service/Emotional Support Animal Guidelines and Agreement. This agreement will be reviewed and signed by the student after the accommodation has been approved and prior to the support animal entering student housing.


Dermott, J. Esq. (March 16, 2012). Update on accommodating service and assistance animals on campus: making heads or tails of federal disability laws. National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) Notes, 10(6).

Federal Register-Part IV Department of Housing and Urban Development. (10/27/2008). Ownership for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities; Final Rule. (24CFR Part 5: Pet, Vol. 73, No. 208 pp. 66834-63838). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

HUD notice on emotional support assistance animals has important implication for institutions. (July 2013). Disability Compliance for Higher Education, 18(12), 3. DOI 10.1002/dhe.

Legal Roundup: Disability compliance for higher education quick study - service and assistance animals. (January 2014). Disability Compliance for Higher Education. p. 16. DOI 10.1002/dhe.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (4/25/2013). Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing HUD-Funded Programs. (FHEO-2013-01, pp. 1-7).