Animals on Campus Policy

Policies Americans with Disabilities Act Policy Animals on Campus Policy Affirmative Action - Equal Opportunity Policy Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy (non-Title IX) Preferred Name Policy Sexual Misconduct Policy (Title IX)

Accommodations for individuals with disabilities in accessing these policies are available upon request by emailing

Purpose and Scope

This policy applies to all individuals bringing an animal on West Chester University (WCU) property. WCU does not permit animals in University buildings, facilities, vehicles, or on University grounds except as described in this policy. The University remains committed to creating and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive educational, working, and living environment for people of all abilities. Therefore, WCU allows animals in its buildings, vehicles, or facilities when they are serving a University-approved purpose, or meet the definition of Service Animals, Service Animal in Training, or Emotional Support Animals as provided in this policy.

Except as otherwise provided in this policy, animals may not enter any: (a) campus building, facility, or University vehicle, including all office, residence, and educational buildings; (b) enclosed or delineated outdoor athletic or recreational facility; or (c) officially reserved or scheduled outdoor events on campus.


  • Controlled Spaces: Controlled spaces are not public spaces. Controlled spaces are defined as any indoor area or facility owned or controlled by the University, such as classrooms and offices, and any outdoor area owned or controlled by the University with limitations on use or access, such as practice fields, stadiums, tennis courts, and officially reserved or scheduled outdoor events. Areas open to the public, such as streets, lawns, or sidewalks with no limitations or access are not controlled spaces.
  • Emotional Support Animal (ESA): An ESA is an animal (typically a dog or cat, though this can include other animals) that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship. The animal provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and other mental impairments. The animal is different from a service animal because it is not specifically trained to perform tasks for a person who has emotional disabilities. Under 2018 Pa. ALS 118, ESAs are referred to as “assistance animals”. 
  • Handler: A handler is the owner or person bringing an animal onto University property.
  • Pet: For purposes of this policy, a pet is any animal that is not a Service Animal, Service Animal in Training, or ESA.
  • Public Spaces: Public spaces are indoor and outdoor areas that are open to the general public. Classrooms, residence halls and most employee workspaces are not generally considered public spaces.
  • Service Animals: Service Animals are defined as animals (dogs and occasionally, miniature horses) that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These tasks can include things like pulling a wheelchair, guiding a person who is visually impaired, or alerting a person who is having seizure. The work or task a Service Animal does must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service dogs may accompany persons with disabilities into places that the public normally goes. 
  • Service Animal in Training: Service Animals in Training are dogs and occasionally, miniature horses, that are being individually trained to perform a specific task(s) for people with disabilities. They have already been puppy trained and can complete everyday tasks not related to a disability, such as sitting, staying, or being housebroken. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not apply to Service Animals in Training.
  • University Property: For purposes of this policy, University property includes all areas owned or controlled by WCU.
  • WCU Housing: For purposes of this policy, WCU Housing refers to on-campus housing controlled, managed, and operated by WCU. 
  • University Student Housing (USH): University Student Housing, LLC (USH), a division of the WCU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, manages six high-end communities located on the WCU campus.

Animals on Campus Policy

Request an Animal in Housing


Animals in the Classroom

Forms Referenced in Policy

Request for Exception to Housing Policy: ESA Requests

Service Animal in Residence Agreement

Request for Service Animal in Training in WCU Campus Housing

Service Animal in Training Residence Agreement

Emotional Support Animal in Residence Agreement

Students in USH/Affiliated Housing

Please note - students living in USH/Affiliated Housing should contact the leasing center for USH for information regarding Service Animals in residence.