New policy enforced for animals on campus

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Complaints about dogs on campus has prompted university rules about canines.

All service, therapy and emotional support animals must be certified and approved by the university before being brought to campus.

Some dogs in the past made unwanted approaches to people on campus, according to Dr. J. Richard Rinewalt, who chaired the committee that helped approve the policy.

He also said there was a “failure of pet owners to clean up after animals or report incidents.”

Service dogs must be registered dog through Student Disabilities Services before they can brought to campus. This also applies to service animals in training.

Therapy animals must serve a clear purpose and be approved by the head of the department the animal is visiting, according to the policy.

Events brought to campus by Student Affairs during finals week that use therapy dogs to alleviate students’ stress may continue as long as they have the stamp of approval.

The formal policy also addresses student requests to bring animals to class.

“There was an increased pressure on faculty to allow students to bring pets and emotional support animals to class,” Rinewalt said.

Senior sports broadcasting major Queen Royal got Athena, a therapy dog she got after experiencing a tough first year.

Making the transition into college, Royal said she struggled with separation anxiety and not having anyone to go home to and interact with after class.

She’s not worried about the policy, however, because she doesn’t bring Athena to class.

“I don’t take her to class because really all it is for me is the anxiety and depression being at home,” Royal said.

This policy affects more than just on-campus residents; pet owners living off campus can expect changes, too. Students are no longer able to walk their companion dogs around the Campus Commons. Dogs now must be kept on sidewalks.