Animals in Residence

University Residences is committed to supporting the University's educational purpose and mission, and works in partnership with the Disability Access Center providing students access to all levels of the residential experience. While pets are not allowed in University Residences, animals classified as service animals (per the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended) or emotional support animals (per the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) are permitted. Campus residences with a service animal or emotional support animal must adhere to the following:


Service Animal: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (Titles I and II), a service animal is any animal individually trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability, and the tasks performed must be directly related to the disability. The law allows service animals into all campus buildings, including University Residences (UR), dining venues, libraries, classrooms, etc.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA): Also known as a comfort or therapy animal, an ESA is any lawful animal providing a therapeutic benefit to a person with a verifiable disability. Unlike service dogs, ESAs are limited to their owner's residential building; entry into dining venues and other campus buildings is prohibited. Campus residents are limited to one approved ESA.

Pets: Pets are prohibited, but fish in tanks under 10 gallons are allowed. Service animals and ESAs are not considered pets; however, they do require approval and documentation from the Disability Access Center (DAC).

Requesting Accommodation (3 Part Process)

Part One: Incoming or current residents requiring a service animal or an ESA will receive information about having an animal on campus, and will receive information about the standard procedure for requesting reasonable accommodation through DAC. A service animal notification is complete after part one.

Part Two: If a student's ESA request has been approved by DAC and noted in the placement tool; the student must contact University Residences to set up an animal review. University Residences must be allowed a reasonable amount of time to respond to requests for an assistance animal accommodation.

Part Three: The resident meets with University Residences staff to discuss the decision. If approved, they will review the Conduct Expectations for themselves and their animal.

Note: University Residences may not permit an animal if it believes the accommodation will pose a substantial or direct threat to the health or safety of the community, or if it presents an undue financial or administrative burden.


All animal owners must adhere to the following guidelines; failure to comply with these guidelines or the UR Housing Agreement, could result in conduct action, damage or cleaning fees, removal of animal from University Residences, and/or eviction of the owner.

  1. The animal must not pose a threat to the health or safety of others, and the owner is responsible for any financial or contractual liability occurring as a result of animal's behavior.

  2. The owner must be in compliance with Bellingham Municipal Code as it relates to the care and control of the animal.

  3. The owner must ensure animal has proper immunizations, licenses and any required veterinary documentation. University Residences has the right to request documentation relevant to these health and safety records at any time at which point documents must be produced.

  4. The owner must be in compliance with the Residential Community Standards and will be held accountable for how the animal impacts residents, staff, other animals and the facilities.

  5. The owner must have the animal under control at all times by means of a harness, leash or tether, unless it interferes with the animal's work or it is not compatible with the owner's disability.

    a. The owner may not leave the animal in the care of another resident.

    b. The owner may not leave the animal unattended in their assigned room overnight.

    c. The owner is responsible for providing a safe and secure barrier between the animal and others who may enter the room when the owner is not present. The barrier is to be appropriately sized for both the animal and the room, and not restrict the animal from healthy movement, access to nourishment, or expose the animal to harm. University Residences recommends the owner consult with a veterinarian when choosing an appropriate barrier for animal.

    d. The owner is responsible for understanding University personnel reserve the right to enter any residential room, with or without notice, for the purpose of health and safety, maintenance repair, facilities inspection, or other official business.

    e. The owner of an ESA may only take the animal in to residential buildings: where their Housing keys give them access.

  6. The animal must be housebroken; otherwise it must be caged at all times. The owner is responsible for the proper bagged disposal of animal waste in appropriate outside containers. If the owner is physically unable to dispose of the animal's waste, they must make arrangements with someone who is capable.

  7. The owner is responsible for keeping their animal free from pests such as fleas, ticks, mites, etc.; and for any charges resulting from damage, cleaning, or pest infestation.

  8. Keeping, raising, or using live feed of any kind (crickets, mice, etc.) is strictly prohibited.

  9. Bathing animals in any sink, shower or tub located in University Residences is prohibited (except in designated spaces).

  10. In the event of roommate conflict, required moves will be based upon the standard policy of using Housing Priority Date to determine who will be moved.

  11. In the event of a complaint, the owner should contact WWU Equal Opportunity.