Pets and Other Animals


All faculty and staff


It is the policy of Albion College to provide a safe, non-threatening, and healthy working environment for all employees, students, and visitors. In an effort to respond to concerns of health (especially allergies), fear, and safety, the presence of animals in the workplace poses a safety concern as well as a risk of potential liability for the College. Therefore, except as noted below, animals are not permitted in any building or College vehicle. This applies to all campus buildings and all College vehicles at all times. Animals are further prohibited from access to athletics fields and must be leashed at all times when on College property.

Exceptions to this policy:

  • Service animals: Service Animals are allowed on campus as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAA) and the laws of the State of Michigan.
  • Emotional support animals: Albion College complies with the Fair Housing Act in allowing students and employees that reside in College housing as a condition of their employment with the College the use of emotional support animals that are approved as an accommodation through the Office of Residential Life.
  • Animals used as part of the curriculum or research.
  • Animals at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center.
  • Animal exhibits within the Visitor’s Center of the Whitehouse Nature Center.
  • Approved Therapy Animals provided as a service to Albion College students (see language below).
  • Employees that reside in College housing as a condition of their employment with the College may keep common domestic pets in their residence subject to certain conditions determined by the Office of Residential Life.
  • Fish in aquariums up to 10 gallons.


Service Animal:
A service animal as per the ADA is defined as: “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the owner’s disability. Emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

ADA Requirements – Service Animals (U.S. Department of Justice)

Therapy Animal:
For the purpose of this policy, therapy animals are defined as any animal that has been trained and certified by qualified handlers to provide comfort and affection enrichment to the campus community.

A person with a service or therapy animal.

Procedure / Service Animal

Albion College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in allowing use of service animals for students, staff, and visitors. For employees:

  • The employee must have a disability as defined by the ADA;
  • The accompanying animal must be trained to do specific tasks for the qualified individual;
  • Employees must complete the Reasonable Accommodation Process with Human Resources
  • Employees that reside in College housing as a condition of their employment with the College, must register the animal with Residential Life if the service animal will be housed on the campus so that accommodations can be coordinated.
  • Must contact Human Resources (and Residential Life, if applicable) as early as possible to permit time to gather and review all necessary documentation.

If the definition of a service animal is not met, then the use of the animal as emotional support may be allowed as a reasonable accommodation in College housing only. Please contact the Office of Residential Life for more information.

Information provided to Human Resource related to this policy is confidential and specific information about the disability will not be released without the consent of the individual.

Etiquette around service animals and their owners:

  • Do NOT pet, touch or otherwise distract a service animal when it is working. Doing so may interfere with its ability to perform its duties.
  • Do NOT feed a service animal. Their work depends on a regular and consistent feeding regimen that the owner is responsible to maintain.
  • Do NOT attempt to separate the owner from the service animal.
  • Do NOT harass or deliberately startle a service animal.
  • Avoid initiating conversations about the individual’s disability. Some people do not wish to discuss their disability.

Procedure / Therapy Dogs

Registered therapy animal handlers volunteer their time to visit with their animal partners in the community. Working closely with their handlers, therapy animals are focused on serving others. Both members of these well trained teams have a special aptitude for interacting safely with members of the public and enjoy doing so.

Handlers are allowed to bring personal items to an office/designated area for storage during a therapy dog visit, but are not allowed to leave the dog alone in an office/designated area. Further, handlers may not keep the dog as a companion in their office during College-related work time. If outlined in the therapy plan, handlers may keep their animal on-campus in a private office space on days the animal is performing enrichment services as a “drop-in” enrichment service to the campus; therapy animals will not attend meetings or enter other public spaces during that time unless it is related to their enrichment services. Handlers must keep the animal on a leash or crated and under control at all times.

Registration Process

Requests to register a new therapy dog for service on campus must be approved by the Academic Affairs Office. Academic Affairs will consider requests in light of the number of currently approved animals and the demand for therapy dog visits on campus.

Upon approval from Academic Affairs, all therapy animals on campus must be registered (renewed annually) with the Human Resources Office. Human Resources will provide an updated list of approved animals to Campus Safety. Registration requires:

  • Annual check-up attested to by a licensed veterinarian within the past year
  • Immunization records
  • Proof of licensure in Calhoun County or county of residence of the handler
  • Copy of active registration with an approved therapy dog certification organization:
    • Therapy dogs International (TDI)
    • Advanced K-9 Academy
    • AKC Good Citizen
    • Dog Scouts of America
    • Love on a Leash
    • Alliance of Therapy Dogs
  • Proof of liability insurance for the animal
  • Therapy plan and schedule for the fiscal year (July 1 – June 30)
    • Plan must be approved by immediate supervisor
  • For renewal requests: documented effectiveness of the therapy program from previous year
  • Compliance with all dog identification requirements during visits on campus, including:
    • Therapy dog tag on collar
    • Therapy dog/handler identification card
    • Therapy dog bandana or vest
  • Compliance with public awareness requirements: Post notices on main entrance(s) to work building and personal workspace indicating:
    • Therapy animal is present today
    • Photo of animal
    • Regular schedule of when the dog is expected on-site

Requesting Therapy Dog Visit

Human Resources is responsible for maintaining a list of therapy dogs and their handlers who are approved to visit campus. Individuals/Departments may request a list of approved therapy dogs and handlers from Human Resources. The request for a therapy dog visit should be made directly with the handler to evaluate need and availability.

Owner Responsibilities

  • The animal must never be left unattended and must always be under the control of the handler. This means the animal must be on a leash or in a carrier/cage. The owner is liable for all actions of the animal and should be in total control and restraint of the animal at all times.
  • The owner must clean up all messes immediately. Any waste material, including litter, should be placed in a plastic bag and disposed of in an outside trash receptacle. Indoor trash cans should not be used for this purpose.
  • The animal must be properly cared for and nourished
  • The animal must not be unduly disruptive or pose an immediate threat to others.
  • All liability for the actions of the animal (bites, scratches, running away, etc.) are the responsibility of the owner. The College requires owners to obtain appropriate liability insurance.
  • The owner must abide by current city, county and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination, and other requirements for animals
  • The owner is financially responsible for the actions of the animal including bodily or property damage. The owner is expected to cover costs at time of repair.

Other Considerations

A service, emotional support, or therapy animal can be asked to leave or not allowed participation on campus if:

  • The animal is found by the College to be out of control or disruptive and the animal’s owner does not take immediate and effective action to control it
  • The animal is not housebroken or kept in a cage where waste can be managed effectively
  • The animal is found to be neglected or mistreated and prompt corrective action is not taken
  • The animal is physically ill
  • The animal is unreasonably dirty
  • A animal attempts to enter a place on campus where the presence of a service animal causes danger to the safety of the owner or other students/members of campus
  • A animal attempts to enter any place on campus where the animal’s safety is compromised
  • The owner is responsible for taking all reasonable precautions to protect the individuals and property of the College
  • Therapy animal requests must be renewed each fiscal year. If the animal is returned to campus without proper renewal, the animal may be removed from campus until approval is complete.
  • Necessary precautions should be made for Facilities Management and other College personnel to enter the residence hall room when the owner is not present. The animal must be caged or crated, or removed from the room, during the time that College personnel are in the room. Albion College is not liable if the animal escapes during one of these visits.
  • The owner of a service/therapy animal will provide the emergency contact information of an individual to who will be on call to care for the animal in the event the owner is unable to care for the animal.

The process for handling disruptions to the community is as follows:

Initial complaints/concerns should be addressed with the handler, if possible. If the issue cannot be resolved directly with the handler, concerns should be directed to the immediate supervisor of the handler. An employee will receive a written warning if a complaint(s) is received regarding the animal. Following the first warning, the employee will have the opportunity to rectify the situation and correct the behavior. If a second complaint is received, the College will conduct a further assessment of the situation and the extent of impact to the community. Following a third complaint or incident, the animal will need to be removed from campus. The individualized assessment of each incident may lead to escalation of this process, up to and including removal of an animal from campus after a first complaint, depending on the severity of any incident involving any service, therapy or support animal. All animal owners must abide by applicable local ordinances, including licensure and vaccination requirements.

Restricted Areas

Albion College may prohibit the use of service and therapy animals in certain locations due to health or safety restrictions. Restricted areas may include but are not limited to food preparation areas, research laboratories or classrooms that contain research animals, areas that require protective clothing, and other areas as required by state or local laws. Generally, therapy animals will not be permitted in classrooms or offices unless part of the curriculum or detailed in the annual therapy plan. Exceptions to these restrictions may be requested and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Approved Emotional Support Animals are permitted only in College housing.

Questions, concerns, or employees interested in registering their therapy animal on campus should contact: Academic Affairs at 517-629-0222.

The College reserves the right to revoke privileges of any employee who fails to comply with any tenants of this policy or whose animal, in the sole discretion of the College, presents as a concern to the campus community. The College reserves the right to intervene on behalf of the animal in situations of abuse, neglect, or visible need for medical intervention. The College reserves the right to revise this policy at any time, with or without notice.

Cabinet Approved: 09/28/2020