Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are a category of animals that may work, provide assistance, or perform physical tasks for an individual with a disability and/or provide necessary emotional support to an individual with a significant mental health disability that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability, but which are not considered Service Animals under the ADAAA and NDSU’s Service Animal Policy.While cats and dogs are often identified as ESAs, other animals may be considered for approval. 

How do is it determined that the presence of an emotional support animal is reasonable?

To determine if the presence of an ESA is reasonable, a student must provide reliable disability- related information from a mental health care provider with whom the student has an established relationship, that:

  1. Establishes the student requesting an ESA has a significant mental health disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities

  2. Describes the needed accommodation

  3. Demonstrates the relationship between the person’s disability and the support the animal provides.

Failure to provide sufficient documentation will result in a denial of the request for an ESA. Additionally, NDSU may deny a request for an ESA if the ESA would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others; would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others; would pose an undue burden, financial or administrative; or would fundamentally alter the nature of NDSU’s operations.

Considerations for selecting the right animal once you’ve been approved for an ESA:

  1. Is the Residence Life space adequate to house the animal and its kennel/crate?

  2. Is the animal completely housebroken and or litter trained (if applicable)?

  3. As appropriate, has the animal had its initial rabies vaccination and other vaccinations? Are the vaccinations all up to date?

  4. If the animal is other than a cat or dog, does it have a wellness certificate from a professionally trained animal health care provider?

  5. If the animal is a dog, is it at least ten months of age? If the animal is a cat, is it at least six months of age?

Access to University Facilities by Emotional Support Animal

An ESA must be contained within the privately assigned individual living accommodations (e.g., room, suite or apartment); except when the owner is taking the animal out for natural relief.

When an ESA is outside the private individual living accommodations, it must be in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness.

The owner may not take the ESA to any other University building other than his or her assigned residence hall room or apartment.

The animal must be properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the control of the owner at all times. Owners may not permit the animal to go loose or run at large. If an animal is found running at large, the animal, once apprehended, is subject to immediate removal from University housing.


Click here for more detailed information on Emotional Support Animals at NDSU.

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