Emotional Support Animals

Definition of an Emotional Support Animal

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support and comfort to an individual with a disability. Emotional Support Animals are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Emotional Support Animals are not trained to work or perform a task for the benefit of the individual with a disability-related to activities of daily living.

Please see our Service Animal Policy for more information.

Unlike a Service Animal, Emotional Support Animals are only allowed in the student’s place of residence. They cannot accompany the student wherever they go. As a result, Emotional Support Animals are subject to restrictions from any area with a no-pets policy.

Requesting an Emotional Support Animal at PSU

ESA/Service animal approval is a two-step process:
1. Reasonableness: Campus Accessibility Services (CAS)- Individuals who wish to bring an ESA or service animal to campus must first obtain confirmation of a reasonable accommodation through Campus Accessibility Services. CAS will send confirmation to the Office of Residential Life once processed.
2. Animal Health and Policy Adherence- Residential Life- Once confirmation is received, the Housing Coordinator will email the student a link to the Service/Support Animal Housing Application. This online application is needed to confirm the health of the animal and acknowledgment of policies.

Please see Residential Life’s Emotional Support Animal & Service Animal Policy for more information.

Requests for an emotional support animal should be made as early as possible. Review of requests may take up to 30 days.

Documentation Requirements

Documentation is required to establish that the ESA is necessary for the student to live in University housing.

Documentation Forms:

The student may be asked to provide an authorization to allow the Campus Accessibility Services Coordinator to communicate directly with the third-party provider. Please see Campus Accessibility Services Permission to Share Information for more information. Please see our website for complete documentation guidelines.

PSU Grievance Procedure

Plymouth State University is committed to providing appropriate accommodations and services to qualifying individuals with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.  Contact Title IX and 504 Coordinator, Janette Wiggett (603) 535-2206, if you believe your rights have been violated or are a person dissatisfied with a decision concerning an Emotional Support Animal.

If a request has been granted for an ESA, the approval has been granted for that specific animal only for the designated academic year. Requests for another animal or subsequent housing assignments must follow the same procedures, as outlined in this policy, and will be determined following the same guidelines.

Questions related to the use of Emotional Support Animals on campus should be directed to the following departments:


Student Concerns
Lindsay Page, Campus Accessibility Services Director

Visitor Concerns
Katie Caron, Manager, Campus Environmental Health & Safety

Appeals/504 Coordinator
Janette Wiggett, Title IX, and 504 Coordinator



Americans with Disabilities Act

Fair Housing Act


Reviewed by USNH Legal Counsel February 15, 2016