Small Seal

Animals on Campus

Recommended By: Cabinet
Approved: Ruben Armiñana, President
Original Issue Date: February 14, 1994 (Revises 12-20-07 policy)
Current Issue Date: April 16, 2009
Effective Date: April 16, 2009
Contact Office: Environmental Health and Safety

Policy #2009-2

  1. Policy
    1. The University recognizes that wild or feral animals may select the campus grounds as their habitat and that occasionally owners of domestic animals may bring their animals to the campus. However, the University considers the safety and health of Sonoma State University faculty, staff, and students to be of utmost priority.
    2. This policy is intended to help maintain the delicate balance required to sustain all wildlife on the campus grounds without human intervention, rather than to protect any one species of animal. The achievement of such balance requires the cooperation of all members of the campus community.
    3. This policy applies to all animals on campus not related to instructional activity. 
    4. Exceptions may be made to this policy on a case-by-case basis as required by applicable law.
    5. The abandonment of animals on campus grounds is strictly forbidden.
    6. Wild or feral animals
      1. Wild or feral animals that are not a risk and do not represent a hazard, cause property damage, or create a public nuisance, and that do not involve human intervention, will be allowed to inhabit the campus grounds.
      2. Prohibited human intervention includes, but is not limited to, feeding, building of shelters, and injection of medication.
      3. Wild or feral animals that are a potential risk, represent a hazard, cause property damage, create a nuisance, or otherwise pose a potential conflict for humans will be regulated, controlled, and humanely relocated in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
    7. Domestic animals (including service animals)
        1. Dogs, cats, and other animals must be under control while on campus grounds, and restrained by a leash, chain or harness that does not exceed 6 feet in length and that is in control of a responsible person.
        2. Any dog, cat, or other animal brought to campus must be licensed and fully inoculated in accordance with Sonoma County regulations, with the burden of proof on the owner.
        3. Fecal matter deposited by any dog, cat, or other animal brought to campus must be removed immediately and disposed of properly by the owner.  The burden is on the animal user to arrange for removal of fecal matter if he or she is personally unable to perform the task.
        4. Dogs, cats, and other animals may not enter campus buildings, including all residence and non-residence buildings. This paragraph does not apply to service animals, accompanying a person with a disability or an authorized service animal trainer, as defined by California Civil Code, §54.1, and 54.2.
        5. Domestic animals and pets found tethered, unattended, or abandoned may be humanely impounded in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
        6. Domestic animals and pets may be confined in vehicles parked on campus for a reasonable period of time, as long as the animal is not endangered and does not endanger others or create a public nuisance, e.g., excessive barking. In the event of endangerment to the animal or others, or public nuisance, the animal's owner is subject to citation and the animal may be humanely impounded.
    8. Service Animals
      1. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a “service animal” is defined as “any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals to an impending seizure or protecting individuals during one, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to danger, or pulling a wheelchair and fetching dropped items.”  A clear and explicit rationale must exist for the function or service that the animal will fulfill in order to receive this accommodation.
      2. Use of a service animal in university facilities and on university campuses (i.e., attendance at a concert or special event) may be prohibited  if the use of the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other persons, or if the presence of the service animal will result in a fundamental alteration of the service, program, or activity involved.  (Title II of the ADA Regulations, 28 D.F.R. – 130 [b] [7])
      3. The owner must be in full control of the service animal at all times, as required in this policy under section G1.
      4. Reasonable behavior and proper hygiene are expected from the service animal while on campus. If the animal exhibits unacceptable behavior, the owner is expected to employ proper training techniques and correct the situation to the satisfaction of all parties involved.  Service animals with hygiene issues will be denied access to campus until the problem is dealt with effectively. 
    9. Special events
      1. In special circumstances, approval may be obtained from the Director of Energy/Environmental Health and Safety for animals to be brought on campus for a singular event involving the display or demonstration of specialized skills or natural behaviors.
  2. Responsibilities
    1. Environmental Health and Safety
      1. The Director of Energy/Environmental Health and Safety is responsible for providing the final determination on the risk, potential hazard, potential for property damage, or potential for public nuisance of any animal on campus grounds.
      2. Environmental Health and Safety will maintain an animal control program in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations; humanely and expeditiously capture and relocate animals, as needed; and educate members of the campus community by informing them of the key aspects of this policy.
    2. The University requires that any individual using, or desiring to use, a service animal on campus request such accommodation with the following offices:
    3. Enrolled students wishing to be accompanied to class by a service animal as an accommodation shall request authorization from the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office.  Students shall provide current verification of a disability that requires accommodation and be able to demonstrate the function the service animal performs as a disability accommodation.  Qualified students will be provided with an official DSS Accommodation Authorization letter to present to their instructors indicating the authorized use of a service animal in class.    During the interactive process other considerations may be taken into account regarding the approval, maintenance, and utilization of the service animal.

      Faculty and staff shall contact the Office of Employee Relations and Compliance (ERC) for such a request.  The ADA coordinator will engage the requesting individual in an interactive process to determine whether bringing a service animal on campus is a reasonable and effective accommodation.

    1. All members of the campus community are required to comply with all aspects of this policy. Employees and students who fail to comply or who interfere with the implementation of this policy, including relocation of animals, will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action.

Updated 5/20/09 by