Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, and Pets on Campus
Pepperdine University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities. This policy provides the circumstances where students will be allowed to have service or support animals while ensuring safety for all members the Pepperdine community. Except as provided herein, animals at Pepperdine are subject to the requirements of the Animals on Campus policy found in Section 37 of the University Policy Manual.
A pet is an animal sufficiently tame to live with a family which is kept and cared for as a companion. Pets are not allowed in residence halls or buildings on any Pepperdine campus. A service animal is trained for a specific task related to a disability. 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. An emotional support animal (ESA) provides general support for mental illness. ESAs are sometimes referred to as therapy animals or assistance animals. These animals provide emotional or other support to ameliorate 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.
Registering a service animal
To bring a service animal to campus:
- The University asks that students voluntarily register with OSA and complete a OSA Service Animal Understanding. This allows the office to notify professors, the Department of Public Safety, and (as necessary) Housing and Residence Life (HRL) of the presence of the animal. The service animal is able to be with you anywhere on campus. For your convenience please download the Service Animal Checklist.
If you reside in campus housing, the following should take place before the animal is brought to campus:
- The office will notify Housing and Residence Life of your animal.
- HRL will contact each person in your assigned building with notification of the potential presence of an animal. Your identity will not be disclosed.
- HRL will communicate with each person in your specific suite/apartment to obtain written, voluntary agreement to live in a suite/apartment with an animal. Your identity will be disclosed. If a suite/apartment-mate is allergic to, fearful of animals, or has other concerns the animal will be welcomed on campus but may impact the housing placements.
- Students are asked to complete an OSA Service Animal Understanding and a HRL Service Animal Understanding (provided by your Resident Director).
- The animal must be licensed per the County of Los Angeles (and, as necessary, proper state and federal licensing). The office will need a copy of such license/s before bringing the animal to campus. The animal will need to be current on shots and immunizations to receive license(s)
Registering an emotional support animal
An ESA is permitted to be with the student only in their assigned residence hall or apartment. For your convenience please download the ESA checklist.
The process to bring an ESA is:
- Register with Student Accessibility
- Provide documentation which includes information outlined in the Disability Verification Form - ESA from a mental health professional about mental illness and how the animal supports treatment.
*The Pepperdine Counseling Center does not write letters to support ESAs.
If a student is approved for the accommodation of an ESA, the following should take place before the animal is brought to campus:
- This office will notify Housing and Residence Life of the accommodation.
- HRL will contact each person in the student's assigned building with notification of the potential presence of an animal. Student identities will not be disclosed.
- HRL will communicate with each person in a specific suite/apartment to obtain written, voluntary agreement to live in a suite/apartment with an animal. Student identity will be disclosed at this level.
- If a suite/apartment-mate is allergic to, fearful of animals, or has other concerns, the animal will be welcomed on campus when HRL identifies appropriate housing for everyone involved. If this is not possible during the current semester, the office would look to the following semester or next academic year as all housing accommodations are based on availability.
- The animal must be licensed per the County of Los Angeles (and, as necessary, proper state and federal licensing). The office will need a copy of such license(s) before bringing the animal to campus. Note that the animal will need to be current on shots and immunizations to receive license(s).
- Students are asked to complete an OSA ESA understanding and a HRL ESA understanding (provided by your Resident Director).
It can be challenging to train a young animal while maintaining classes and other responsibilities. It is highly recommend that an ESA not move into campus housing until the animal is housebroken, crate-trained as necessary, and able to be alone without vocalizing.
ESAs are the responsibility of the student with the accommodation. They are not to be left alone at night or overnight in someone else's care. All clean-up and damages are the responsibility of the student, as we as any costs incurred during an emergency for care and control of the animal.
Failure to comply with these terms and the requirements of the University Policy for Animals on Campus may result in disciplinary action as stated in the Code of Conduct sections of the Student Handbook and Graduate Residential Handbook.
If you have additional questions, email or call the office at 310.506.6500.
Last updated: May 2020.