Approved by: The President
Issued              -- August 19, 2015
Revised            --
Last Reviewed -- July 31, 2019
Related Policies: Residential Services Policies and Procedures; Service Animals Policy; Support Animals Policy
Additional References:
Responsible Official: Associate VP and Chief Human Resources Officer tel. (202) 319-5590


I. Introduction


Pets are permitted on campus subject to the restrictions and requirements set forth in this policy and in the animal control regulations set forth at D.C. Code §8-1808. Pet owners are directly responsible for complying with this policy, and for all injuries or damages caused by their animals. The University reserves the right to prohibit any pet from campus.

This policy does not apply to Service Animals or approved research animals used in accordance with the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

II. Definitions


A. Pet means a domesticated or tamed animal that would normally be expected to belong to someone whether or not there is any acknowledged ownership. Examples of Pets include, but are not limited to dogs, cats, rodents, reptiles, birds, and fish.

B. Service Animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Service Animals perform some of the functions and tasks of normal daily living that an individual with a disability cannot perform. A service animal is a working animal, not a pet. To be considered a Service Animal, the work or task the animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks performed by a Service Animal include:

  • Guiding people with impaired vision; 
  • Alerting individuals with impaired hearing to the presence of other people or sounds;
  • Assisting with opening doors or pushing buttons;
  • Aiding persons with impaired mobility by steadying the person when walking;
  • Pulling a wheelchair;
  • Retrieving dropped items;
  • Alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure;
  • Reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications;
  • Recognizing that a person is about to have a psychiatric or neurological episode and responding in a manner that prevents or interrupts the episode, or otherwise protects the person until the episode subsides;
  • Providing minimal rescue or non-violent protection work.

III. Restrictions and Requirements


A. Where Pets are Permissible


Pets are permitted only in outside areas of campus. Pets are not permitted inside University buildings and facilities, including residence halls. An exception is made for clergy in residence and for staff and faculty who reside on campus subject to their specific housing agreement. An exception also is made for fish in residence halls if kept in aquariums of 10 gallon size or less in accordance with Residential Services Policies and Procedures.

B. Care, Control and Behavior


Pet owners must be in full control of their pets at all times. Pets must be harnessed, leashed, tethered or otherwise restrained at all times. The care and supervision of a pet is solely the responsibility of its owner. The owner of a pet that is not housebroken or that is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, running around lose, nipping, bringing attention to itself, or otherwise not under control) may be asked to remove the animal from campus. If the improper behavior happens repeatedly, the owner may be required to take significant steps to mitigate the behavior before bringing the animal back to campus. Mitigation may include muzzling a barking animal or other appropriate measures.

Pets whose behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others or are repeatedly disruptive to the University community may be excluded from campus. Disruptive or dangerous behavior should be reported immediately to the Department of Public Safety at tel. (202) 319-5111. The owner of the pet is solely responsible for any damage to persons or property caused by the animal.

C. Identification, License and Tags


Pet owners are responsible for knowing and complying with relevant identification, licensure, tagging and other legal requirements or prohibitions for their specific pet. Note that DC Code §8-104 requires that dogs in the District of Columbia be licensed.

D. Health and Sanitation


Pets must be clean and well groomed, and measures should be taken at all times for flea and odor control. Pets must have current vaccinations and immunizations against diseases common to that type of animal, and must wear a current rabies vaccination tag if applicable to that species. Pet owners are responsible for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste, and for any damage caused by the waste or its removal.