Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Important: Any student who brings an animal into CalArts Housing prior to the completion of the full approval process will be subject to a fine; will have two weeks to remove the animal; and may lose their housing privileges, per CalArts Housing's Pet Policy.

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Service Animals


Definition

A "service animal" is a dog, or miniature horse, that is individually trained to perform work and/or tasks for a disabled person. The work and/or task must be directly related to the person's disability, such as guiding a person with impaired vision, or alerting a person with impaired hearing. CalArts permits students to use service animals in connection with all Institute facilities, programs, and activities consistent with its obligations under federal and state law.


The person who requires the assistance of a service animal is responsible for keeping the animal harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times, unless these devices interfere with the animal's work, or the person's disability prevents using these devices, in which case the person must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Please note that some schools may require a consultation between the director and student. The purpose of this is to inform the student of any potential hazardous materials in labs/ risk factors that the service animal may be exposed to should they need to access certain facilities on campus. 


A student wishing to live with a service animal in Institute housing must inform the Disability Services Office (DSO) in a timely manner, so that appropriate arrangements can be made, and so that the expectations for the appropriate care and behavior of the animal living on campus may be discussed. DSO will not ask about the nature or extent of a student's disability, but when it is not readily apparent, DSO may ask the student if the animal is required because of a disability and what work or task they have been trained to perform. CalArts does not require documentation for service animals, such as proof that the dog has been certified, trained, or licensed as a Service Animal.

Students who are approved to have a service animal in CalArts housing will be required to sign a Service Animal Agreement. CalArts may require the removal of an approved service animal if there is any violation of any of the terms and conditions of the Service Animal Agreement. Residential Life staff will make a reasonable effort to notify the other residents in the housing unit where the service animal will be located. This notice will be limited to information about the animal's presence as an accommodation for a student with a disability; there will be no disclosure of the student's disability.

Please be aware that Los Angeles County requires proof of rabies vaccination as part of the mandatory city registration process for all dogs. Dogs living in Los Angeles County, unless medically exempt, must also be neutered or spayed. Please plan to have this documentation available to provide to the housing office.


Emotional Support Animals (ESA)


Definition

An "emotional support animal" (ESA) is an animal that alleviates one or more symptoms or effects of a person's disability, and is necessary to afford the person an equal opportunity to use and enjoy CalArts housing. An ESA may be necessary to provide physical assistance, emotional support, calming, stability, and other kinds of assistance. CalArts permits students with disabilities to have an ESA reside with them in CalArts housing, consistent with federal and state law.
 

Important: Any student who brings an animal into CalArts Housing prior to the completion of the full approval process will be subject to a fine; will have two weeks to remove the animal; and may lose their housing privileges, per CalArts Housing's Pet Policy.


Students may not bring their Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to any CalArts facilities outside the CalArts housing unit where they reside. This means that ESAs are not permitted inside classrooms, labs, offices, dining facilities, or other campus buildings. Moreover, that student is responsible for keeping the animal harnessed, leashed, caged or tethered at all times, unless these devices interfere with the animal's work or the student's disability prevents using these devices, in which case the student must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

CalArts may require removal of an approved ESA if there is any violation of any of the terms and conditions of the ESA Agreement, which students must complete as part of the approval process. Residential Life staff will make a reasonable effort to notify the other residents in the housing unit where the ESA will be located. This notice will be limited to information about the animal's presence as an accommodation to a student with a disability; there will be no disclosure of the student's disability. 

Other resident students with a medical condition(s) who are directly and negatively impacted by animals (e.g., respiratory diseases, asthma, severe allergies) are asked to contact Disability Services Office (DSO) if they have a health or safety-related concern about exposure to an ESA. Such affected students may be eligible for a disability accommodation when living in proximity to an ESA.

DSO and Residential Life staff will collaborate, as necessary, to resolve conflicts related to an ESA. Staff members will consider the needs and/or accommodations of all resident students involved. If the student's ESA causes damage to the student's unit or the common areas of the housing facility, the student will be charged for the cost of repairing the damages and may be asked by CalArts Housing to remove the animal if the animal's behavior continues. 

Students who are approved for an ESA and want to keep their ESA in student housing the following school year must contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) to renew their request for each academic year. A request for a returning ESA should be submitted at the same time housing selection begins for CalArts Housing each April in order to guarantee consideration.


Important: Any student who brings an animal into CalArts Housing prior to the completion of the full approval process will be subject to a fine; will have two weeks to remove the animal; and may lose their housing privileges, per CalArts Housing's Pet Policy.


A student wishing to bring an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) into CalArts housing must request that accommodation from Disability Services Office (DSO) at least 30 days in advance. Please note that an ESA approval does not guarantee Institute housing.

Here is a brief overview of the process. Please read the entire section thoroughly for more details. All steps below must be completed to be approved for an emotional support animal accommodation:

  • Step 1: Provide DSO with an accommodation request form on our housing accommodation page and disability documentation from a mental health provider (with whom you have an established treatment relationship) that supports your need for an ESA.
  • Step 2: The student should schedule an intake appointment with DSO to discuss the accommodation request.
  • Step 3: After reviewing your documentation, DSO will notify you of the decision in writing. Denials may be appealed under the disability grievance procedure.
  • Step 4: If approved by DSO, the student will then be contacted by the Office of Residential Life to fill out an ESA Agreement form and meet with them to discuss rules and expectations.

It is strongly recommended that students begin this process well before the start of the school year. The approval process may take longer if an ESA is requested after housing assignments have already been made, as the housing office must ensure that an ESA does not adversely impact other students living nearby, such as those with respiratory or sensory conditions, severe allergies, or phobias.

Please note that ESA approval does not guarantee institute housing.
 


A student who wishes to have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in CalArts Housing must provide appropriate documentation of the need for the ESA completed and signed by an outside psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, physician, or other health care professional who has an established treatment relationship with the student.

To fulfill this requirement, students may have the provider fill out the Disability Services Office (DSO) ESA request form and/or submit a letter from the provider discussing whether the student has a need for the animal to help treat a qualifying disability. 

Reliable disability-related documentation should be specific to the housing environment and include the following information: 

  1. Required: Documentation explicitly verifies that the person requesting the Emotional Support Animal meets the Act's definition of disability and a specific diagnosis of DSM-V or equivalent criteria (i.e., has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities).
  2. Required: Describes how the animal works, provides assistance, performs tasks or services for the benefit of this individual with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of their identified symptoms or effects of the applicant’s existing disability (e.g., what are the limitations the assistance animal mitigates, how is what the animal performs related to the disabling condition, and what is the difference in limitations, with and without, the animal being present).
  3. Required: Describe how your therapeutic or medical relationship with the applicant has informed the basis for the conclusion and recommendation for the necessity of an assistance animal within Institute Housing. Documentation must establish a client-provider relationship with the individual for at least 30 days prior to providing the documentation requested regarding the individual’s need for an emotional support animal.
  4. Required: Describe any expertise and training you have with regard to therapeutic human/animal interaction.
  5. Required: Describe how much of an opportunity you have had in observing the interactions between the person and the animal in question as well as any observations of the animal's behavior around other commonly present animals or persons.

Please note that Disability Services Office (DSO) does not accept letters from the numerous online companies who (in exchange for a fee) offer verification or certification for the need of an ESA.

The approval of a request is animal-specific and is not transferable to another animal. Only one ESA will be approved per student, unless the medical provider gives justification for more than one animal (based on additional need).

All cats and dogs living in Los Angeles County must be current on their rabies vaccines and, unless medically exempt, be neutered or spayed. Dogs must also be registered with the county of Los Angeles. Please plan to have this documentation available to provide to the housing office.


Disability Services Office (DSO) will determine, on a case-by-case basis, and in collaboration with other appropriate offices on campus, whether to approve the student's request for an ESA. In making this determination, DSO will consider the needs of the student; the impact of the animal on other members of the housing facility and CalArts community; and whether the available and/or assigned space is appropriate for the animal. The student may be required to move to alternate CalArts housing, depending upon housing location, in order to best accommodate them and/or the animal.

A request for an assistance animal may be denied as unreasonable if the presence of the animal:

  1. Imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden
  2. Fundamentally alters CalArts' housing program
  3. Poses a direct threat to the health and safety of the student or others; or
  4. Would cause substantial property damage.

Animals who exhibit aggressive or destructive behavior or have potential to transmit zoonotic diseases will not be approved.

The decision of the DSO will be provided to the student in writing. Denials may be appealed under the disability grievance procedure. If the request for an ESA is approved, the student will be required to sign an Emotional Support Animal Agreement. Once approved, students should visit the CalArts Housing ESA page for additional instructions.

Please note that ESA approval does not guarantee institute housing.


QUESTIONS?

  • Contact us by email (dso@calarts.edu)
  • Location: F201H
  • Summer Office hours: Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed on Fridays.

PLEASE NOTE: Disability Services is not open for drop-in or in-person meetings but we will be meeting via Zoom.