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Hamline’s policies on service and therapy animals cause some confusion.

Pippin glances out the window.

Pippin glances out the window.

Heather Mostoller

Heather Mostoller

Pippin glances out the window.


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Apart from all the squirrels always running around campus, Hamline is home to many animals and pets. Many dorms have pets living in them, but Hamline has certain specifications on what pets are and are not allowed.

“No pets or animals of any kind may reside in student housing except fish,” reads Residential Life’s policy on Pets in University Housing. “Trained service animals for people with disabilities and Emotional Support Animals which have been registered and approved by Residential Life will be permitted.”

This policy allows for quite a bit of leniency and as a result causes some confusion among students regarding what is and is not acceptable when it comes to pets on campus.

“To be honest, I don’t even know what the policies entail and what animals are allowed,” said sophomore Erin Smothers. “I’ve seen a lot of cats and a few dogs. I don’t actually know if they allow other animals beyond that.”

Hamline further defines which pets they would allow on campus in a different policy relating specifically to service and therapy animals.

“…the Americans with Disabilities Act defines a ‘service animal’ as ‘any dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability,’” reads the Dean of Students Policy on Service and Therapy Animals (PSTA). “A Therapy Animal is an animal that works, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or an animal that provides emotional support which alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.”

These definitions still leave unanswered questions on what is and is not allowed.

“I have some confusions on the size of animals,” said junior Patrick Woods. “I feel like most of it comes to training, so I feel like larger animals should be allowed if they’re trained well. That being said, I would to keep a big malamute cooped up in a tiny dorm, but I can’t say where I’d expect Hamline to draw the line in sizes.”

Additionally, some students have concerns regarding how to handle other issues that may arise surrounding animals in the dorms.

“I feel like the owner should have to check to make sure that nobody on their floor is allergic to their particular pet,” Smothers said. “ Especially with animals that need to be more regularly let out and exercised, allergies should be something that gets considered. Also, I feel like the owner should have to make sure they thoroughly clean the room at the end of the year to make sure there aren’t issues with allergies or smells for the next resident.”

Hamline’s policies do go into detail about some of these concerns.

“…Students with medical condition(s) that are affected by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Residential Life if they have a health or safety related concern about exposure to an Approved Animal,” reads the PSTA . “The Owner is responsible for any expenses incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to Hamline premises that are assessed after the student and animal vacate the residence.”

Though much of the information on these policies is public information, it is unknown by much of the student body.

“I saw those policies as a prospective student and an enteric freshman,” Woods said. “But I really haven’t seen them since. It’d be nice if res life spread some more awareness.”


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Animals that contribute