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Small Animal Policy in Residential and Academic Spaces

Drafted by the Moravian University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Spring 2017

This policy defines acceptable parameters for small animals, such as but not confined to rodents on the campus of Moravian University to protect the safety, health, and well being of students, faculty, staff, and visitors. Offices and residential halls, as public spaces, are considered “no small animal” zones (with the exceptions listed at the end of this policy).

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) understands the unique nature of the owner-pet relationship.  Nevertheless, the college is a workplace and residence. The welfare of the entire community must therefore be considered when setting parameters for allowing small animals on campus, as animals have the potential to affect the safety and health of college students and employees, as well as the hygienic and physical condition of the campus.

The following concerns should be considered:

1) Allergies - Small animals, such as rodents used for research, are maintained in tightly controlled environments designed to reduce the impact of unwanted side effects within the college community.   These animals are housed in the designated Animal Facility where the ventilation system is under a negative pressure condition.  This is critical to ensure allergens do not enter into the common areas in the Hall of Science such as hallways and office spaces.   Allergic reactions are a serious concern.  The proteins found in a rodent’s dander, skin flakes, saliva and urine can cause an allergic reaction or aggravate asthma symptoms in some people.

2) Contamination to College Research AnimalsWithin the Animal Facility, frequent bedding changes with good husbandry such as regular cage cleaning, low animal density, and low environmental temperature and humidity are essential.  Cages are thoroughly cleaned according to The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals that states "effective disinfection can be achieved with wash and rinse water at 143-180 ºF or more.” This reduces toxic or odor-causing gases such as ammonia from building up, since urease-positive bacteria in rodent feces act to break down urea in the urine.  Small animals, housed in uncontrolled situations (for example, inappropriate cages in residential spaces or campus offices) are not suitable due to inadequate air circulation and subsequent buildup of ammonia. In these situations, individuals who handle such animals outside of this facility could transmit bacteria and viruses living among these “pets” into the Animal Facility.  This could negatively impact the health of animals that represent a great deal of time and effort devoted for teaching and research purposes.

3) Zoonotic disease:  This is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans. Viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi can cause zoonotic diseases. These diseases are quite common. Scientists estimate that more than 6 out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. Therefore, small animals may pose a health risk to those who live and work at the college. The Animal Facility houses only research animals.  Pets are not permitted.   The appropriate husbandry, as described above, is only achieved within the confines of the Animal Facility.  Therefore, small animals housed elsewhere, would not be under the same standard of care.

Noncompliance Procedure

  • If a member of the Moravian University community notices a violation of this policy in the residence halls, they must report the violation to a member of the Residence Life Staff. At which point a member of the Student Affairs staff will then inform the resident that the animal must be removed from campus; failure to remove the animal within the deadline may result in Student Conduct.
  • If a member of the Moravian University community notices a violation of this policy in any academic space (offices or other common areas), this concern should be reported to the Office of Human Resources and the Institutional Officer of the IACUC.  Following notification, the animal must be removed from campus within 24 hours. 


This policy is not intended to address circumstances related to the current dog-friendly policy currently in place at Moravian University.

Small aquatic animals that are currently being cared for in the greenhouse of the Collier Hall of Science are exempt from this policy.

Support and assistance animals are also exempt as defined by the following policy