Service Animal Policy for Residential Students

Moravian University is committed to reasonably accommodating qualified students with disabilities and adhering to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA) in ensuring accessibility of its programs and services. 

Moravian University is committed to allowing people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility that are open to the public or students. Students with service animals should contact the Office of Disability and Accommodations to notify them of the animal’s presence on campus and students who plan to live in residence must notify the offices of Residence Life & Housing. 


Emotional support animal (ESA): Emotional support animals are various terms for assistance animals that do not meet the ADA definition for a service animal. The emotional support animals’ sole function is to provide support to improve the emotional well-being of the owner. Therapy and emotional support animals are not entitled to the same benefits as service animals (as outlined in ADA). 

Owner: Student or another covered person who has requested the accommodation and has received approval to bring the service animal on campus. Animals may not be brought into housing without the approval of University officials.

Pet: Animal kept for ordinary use, pleasure, and companionship. A pet is not considered a service animal or therapy/emotional support animal, and, therefore, it is not covered by this policy. Students are not permitted to keep pets, other than non-carnivorous fish, in the residence halls. 

Service animal: Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 

Policy for Service Animal 

Accommodation Request Process 

Requests for service animals in housing do not require documentation of disability. Students with a service animal are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability and Accommodations to explore additional support on Moravian’s campus. Residential students with a service animal should contact the Office of Housing ( to discuss arrangements before bringing the animal to campus.

Residence Life & Housing Approval Process 

Residents with service animals should schedule a meeting by emailing to review the following with a member of the Office of Housing: 

  1. Provide current and updated animal records (see below) to the Office of Housing. 
  2. Provide a photo of the animal to the Office of Housing. 
  3. Receive and return the Approved Animal Agreement Roommate & Suitemate Acknowledgement Form to the Office of Housing. 

Animal Records 

Service animals must comply with local and state ordinances and laws regarding animals, including requirements for vaccination and licensing. Pennsylvania state law requires all dogs three (3) months and older to be licensed by January 1st of each year. For students who are not Pennsylvania residents, a pet license from their home state or county may be accepted instead of the Pennsylvania license as long as similar requirements are met. 

  • Service animals must have current vaccination against rabies and wear a rabies vaccination tag, as applicable.
  • Veterinary and vaccination records should be submitted to the Office of Housing at least thirty (30) days before the service animal accesses the residence halls. Residents with an approved service animal must resubmit their animal’s health and vaccination records yearly.

Moravian University does not require the owner to provide a service animal’s training documentation or certification. 

Notice to Residential Community 

The Office of Housing will notify tenants of the owner’s shared space (room, suite, or apartment) and Residence Life staff members of the service animal. The notification will not disclose the student’s disability, but merely establish the presence of the animal and instructions for concerned parties. 

Responsibilities of the Owner 

The owner is responsible for creating and maintaining an environment that is supportive of their service animal’s health and well-being. A service animal must be clean and well-groomed, and measures should be taken at all times for flea and odor control. If at any time, the proper care of the animal is questioned by the Office of Housing or another campus office, the owner may be asked to remove the animal.

Service animals are permitted in all areas of campus unless otherwise noted.

Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. If the owner resides on campus, a service animal may be off-leash or off-harness in the owner’s suite or bedroom when it is not working and the owner is present. When the owner is not with the animal, it must be inside the owner’s bedroom. 

The service animal should never be left unattended or under the care of another Moravian University community member. The owner is expected to navigate their class schedule and obligations accordingly to ensure the service animal has proper care. For extenuating circumstances, please contact the Office of Housing for assistance.

The service animal must be housebroken. It is the owner’s responsibility to be aware of the animal’s need to relieve itself and respond accordingly. It is the owner’s responsibility to remove and properly dispose of any waste. 

In the event of an emergency evacuation, the owner is responsible for evacuating the building. The owner should use discretion regarding the removal of the service animal during the evacuation.

The owner is solely responsible for any damage to persons or University property caused by the service animal. The owner is also responsible for any expense incurred for cleaning above and beyond a standard cleaning or for repairs to University premises that are assessed after the student and service animal vacate the residence. 

Responsibilities of Moravian University  

The primary role of the Office of Housing is to support the student/owner.  Moravian University assumes no responsibility for the service animal or their behavior. Moravian University is not responsible for the loss, damage to, or death of the service animal. 

If the owner has challenges with their service animal that impacts other students of the community, the Office of Housing is available to meet with and support the owner. The Office of Housing can provide recommendations for the owner and their roommates and/or suitemates. However, the Office of Housing is unable to provide recommendations for the service animals, other than removal. Owners who are struggling with the care for their service animals should refer to their veterinarian for recommendations. 

If the service animal becomes a burden for the owner and thus the owner experiences an exacerbation of their disability, the Office of Disability and Accommodations is available to meet with the student. Should multiple owners seek to have approved animals in a shared space (bedroom and/or suite), the owner who was first approved will have priority. The Office of Housing will coordinate with the subsequent approvals on alternative housing arrangements. 

Removal of Animal 

The Office of Disability and Accommodations, in collaboration with the Office of Housing and Student Development (if appropriate), will review and evaluate if any actions of the owner or the service animal violate this policy. If the service animal’s behavior poses a threat to the safety of others, Campus Police may also be part of the team responding to the behavior. Permanent exclusion of the animal may occur if continuous behavior problems are reported. 

The owner may be asked to remove a service animal from University facilities or grounds within 48 hours if the animal displays disruptive behavior, such as wandering, barking or whining, defecating or urinating in unauthorized spaces, or if it displays aggressive behavior. If the owner mistreats or neglects the service animal, the owner will be asked to remove the animal. A service animal may also be removed if it demonstrates negative and/or destructive behavior beyond the duties of the service animal and if the owner does not, or is unable to, control the animal. Ill, unhygienic, and/or unsanitary service animals are not permitted in public campus areas. 

Requirements for Moravian University Community Members 

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Moravian community members may ask two (2) questions: 

  • Is the animal required because of a disability? 
  • What work or task has the animal been trained to perform? 

Interacting with a Service Animal

Members of the Moravian University Community are required to abide by the following practices: 

  • They are to allow the service animal to accompany its owner at all times and in all places on campus. 
  • They are not to touch or pet a service animal unless invited to do so. 
  • They are not to feed a service animal. 
  • They are not to deliberately startle a service animal. 
  • They are not to separate or to attempt to separate an owner from their service animal. 
  • They are not to inquire for details about the owner’s disability. The nature of a person’s disability is a private matter. 

If a roommate conflict presents itself as a result of the animal’s presence, the University will treat the conflict as if it were a traditional mediation. Should no resolution be identified, the University may require all parties to relocate, dependent on the availability of space. 

Conflicting Disabilities 

Allergies and fear of animals are not valid reasons for excluding a service animal from the campus or residence hall. 

A person who expects to come into contact with the service animal frequently, and who has a medical condition(s) that are affected by animals, are asked to contact the Office of Disability and Accommodations if they have health or safety-related concerns. The individual will be asked to provide medical documentation that identifies the condition(s) and will allow a determination to be made as to whether the condition is disabling and whether there is a need for accommodations.