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Pepperdine University

University Policy for Animals on Campus


37.1 Introduction

The University recognizes that wild animals may frequent or select the Malibu campus grounds as their habitat, and that owners of domestic animals may occasionally bring their pets to certain public areas of the Malibu campus. This policy is intended to protect the Pepperdine community from hazards associated with or caused by wild and domestic animals, and to optimize the safety and health of faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

Exceptions may be made to this policy on a case-by-case basis as required by applicable law. This policy does not apply to animals related to instructional and/or research activity. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary actions.

37.2 Definitions

The following definitions apply for the purposes of this policy:

  • Wild animals are non-domesticated animals living in their natural habitat.
  • Pets are animals sufficiently tame to live with a family and are kept and cared for as companions.
  • Service animals are animals that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, and alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, among others. Service animals are working animals, not pets.
  • ESAs (Emotional Support Animals) are animals that provide emotional or other support that ameliorates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person's disability. Unlike service animals, ESAs are not required to be trained to perform work or tasks.

37.3 Wild Animals

Community members are expected take reasonable precautions when encountering wild animals and may not feed or otherwise disturb them.

Community members should immediately notify the Department of Public Safety to report wild animals on campus that pose any threat. Please reference the Emergency Preparedness Guide for additional information on wildlife.

37.4 Pets

Members of the Pepperdine community and visitors to the campus are generally permitted to bring their pets to public outdoor areas of the Malibu campus. Pets are only allowed outdoors; they are prohibited from all University buildings, athletic fields, The Fick Walk, Military Honor Garden, Biggers Family Courtyard, and Heroes Garden. Students and guests are not permitted to have pets in the residence halls. Pet guidelines for Malibu campus faculty and staff residences may be found in HOA rules and regulations. All pets must be controlled by a leash, tether, or harness that does not exceed six feet in length. Pets may not be tethered to a tree or structure or left unattended for any period of time. Unless otherwise permitted, pets are prohibited from all outdoor University events. Owners must immediately clean up after their animals and ensure the animals' behavior does not cause a nuisance or harm to individuals or University property. Owners are responsible for any damage or injury caused by their pets, as well as appropriately caring for their pets. The University is not liable for harm to pets while on campus. Any pet brought to public outdoor areas of the Malibu campus must be licensed and inoculated in accordance with Los Angeles County regulations, with the burden of proof on the owner.

Pets are not allowed at any other campus locations, including graduate campuses, the Washington, D.C. campus, or any international campuses. Additional animal policies are determined by the building lease agreement.

Violations may be resolved informally. Further questions, assistance in enforcing this policy, or reports of an animal that poses a threat or is otherwise disruptive may be directed to the Department of Public Safety.

Any individual bitten by an animal on campus should immediately contact the Department of Public Safety.

37.5 Service Animals

Pepperdine provides equal access and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to participate in any program, service, or opportunity provided by the University, and complies with applicable laws related to service animals.
Concerns about whether an animal is a pet or service animal should be reported to the Department of Public Safety.
Service animals are permitted to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of campus where community members and visitors are allowed to go. Exclusions of service animals are determined on an individualized basis and when one or more of the following conditions exists:

  • The service animal is disruptive and not effectively controlled
  • The service animal is not housebroken
  • The presence of the service animal would fundamentally change the nature of the job, service, or activity
  • The service animal's presence, behavior, or actions pose an unreasonable or direct threat to property and/or the health and safety of others (including inappropriate hygiene and cleanliness)
  • The service animal may be in danger
  • The service animal's presence may compromise the integrity of certain research

The University is not responsible for the care or supervision of service animals. Individuals are responsible for:

  • Complying with licensing requirements of Los Angeles County, as appropriate for the animal, with a copy of the license submitted to the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Student Accessibility (for students) or Human Resources (for employees)
  • Following their veterinarian's care recommendations and vaccinations for the animal, with a copy of the rabies record submitted to the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Student Accessibility (for students) or Human Resources (for employees)
  • The cost of any property damage or cost of extra cleaning due to the animal
  • The control and reasonable behavior of the service animal at all times
  • The service animal's appropriate hygiene and cleanliness
  • The immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste

Service animals in training are allowed on campus in accordance with the above guidelines for service animals. The University prefers that faculty, staff, and students should not bring service animals in training to the classroom, residence halls, or workplace.

If students are allergic to service animals on campus, they are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Accessibility to assist in resolving the issue. If faculty and staff are allergic to service animals on campus, they are encouraged to contact their supervisor and Human Resources to assist in resolving the issue. The Office of Student Accessibility and Human Resources will attempt to reasonably accommodate all parties.

Students should register their service animals with the Office of Student Accessibility. Employees may request the assistance of a service animal as a reasonable accommodation for their disability; such requests must be handled through Human Resources.

In the event of a dispute about an accommodation related to a service animal or an animal restriction, students are encouraged to attempt to resolve the issue with the Office of Student Accessibility. Students may also file a complaint in accordance with their school's student handbook. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attempt to resolve disputes with their supervisor and Human Resources. Employees may also file a complaint in accordance with section 29 of the University Policy Manual.

37.6 Emotional Support Animals

Support animals are not considered service animals under this policy or applicable law. Support animals are not permitted in University buildings, athletic fields, or designated gardens and must follow the guidelines for pets on campus. Support animals may be allowed in on-campus student residences when registered with and approved by the Office of Student Accessibility.

Last Updated: May 2020.

The full university policy manual can be accessed at the link below: