Policies & Procedures

UC IRVINE ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Section 1

Student Affairs

Sec. 501-05: Emotional Support Animals in Housing Interim Policy


Responsible Administrator: Vice Chancellor - Student Affairs
Issued:
September 2019

References / Resources

Contact: Questions about this policy should be addressed to:

Contents


A. Purpose and Scope


UCI is committed to ensuring that all of its students can fully participate in and enjoy equal access to UCI’s programs and services, including UCI Housing.

  1. This Policy:
    1. Explains the specific requirements that apply to an individual’s use of an Emotional Support Animal in UCI Housing;
      1. Emotional Support Animals are a type of assistance animal.
      2. This Policy does not apply to other types of assistance animals including, but not limited to:
    2. Applies solely to Emotional Support Animals that may be necessary in UCI Housing; and
    3. Stipulates that the approval to have Emotional Support Animals in UCI Housing does not extend to other UCI locations (see Sec. 905-40: Policy on Non-Research Animals on Campus).
  2. This Policy and the related forms can be provided in alternate formats upon request.

B. Definitions


Direct Threat: Anything that results in a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or in property damage to the property of others, including property owned by the University. The determination of the existence of a Direct Threat:
  1. Must be based on objective evidence and not fear, speculation, or stereotype; and
  2. Requires an individualized analysis that includes considering if a Reasonable Accommodation can eliminate or significantly reduce the threat.
Example: A resident requests an Emotional Support Animal at a property where another tenant is allergic to that animal. Housing must consider the following factors to determine if a Direct Threat exists:
  • How often the animal’s presence will trigger the allergies;
  • The severity of the allergic reaction that the animal triggers; and
  • If a Reasonable Accommodation (i.e. housing both residents on opposite sides of the property, placing the requestor at another property, etc.) will eliminate or significantly reduce the likelihood and severity of an allergic reaction.
Disability:

1. A physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities;*
2. A record of such an impairment; or
3. Being regarded as having such an impairment.

* Major life activities include, but are not limited to (a) caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working; or (b) the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Disability does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance, and an individual shall not be considered to be disabled solely because that individual is a member of the LGBTQ community (see endnote 4).

DSC: UCI Disability Services Center. DSC is located at:
      100 Disability Services Center, Building #313, UCI,
      Irvine, CA 92697-5250.
DSC’s website is www.dsc.uci.edu.
DSC’s contact information is:
      Voice: (949) 824-7494
      TTY: (949) 824-6272
      Fax: (949) 824-3083
      Email: dsc@uci.edu
Emotional Support Animal: An animal that provides necessary emotional support for an individual with a Disability. This emotional support must alleviate one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s Disability.
An Emotional Support Animal is not a Service Animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (see endnote 1) or the U.S. Fair Housing Act (see endnote 2) and does not have any formal training or certification. Any animal can be an Emotional Support Animal, though UCI can exclude animals that cause an Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burden or Fundamental Alteration or that pose a Direct Threat. Emotional Support Animals are different from Service Animals, which are dogs or miniature horses individually trained to perform work or tasks that alleviate peoples’ disabilities (see endnote 1).
Fundamental Alteration: A change that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of a provider's operations. An example would be a request to UCI Housing to provide kenneling services for an Emotional Support Animal.
Owner: Any owner of an Emotional Support Animal who is a tenant in UCI Housing, dependent or partner of a tenant, or a person visiting a tenant.
Reasonable Accommodation: A change in a policy (i.e. no pets allowed), procedure, or practice that gives a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy UCI housing, including common areas.
Service Animal: Any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not Service Animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a Service Animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.
Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.
Note: Sec. 905-40: Policy on Non-Research Animals on Campus specifies that Service Animals are permitted on campus.
Therapy Animal: An animal trained to provide comfort and affection to people in long-term care, hospitals, retirement homes, schools, mental health institutions, and other stressful situations to include disaster areas. Therapy Animals work in animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy. The animal handler typically also owns the Therapy Animal as a pet.
Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burden: Significant difficulty or expense. The determination of an undue burden must take into account all available resources, including those outside of UCI Housing’s budget.

C. UCI Policy


  1. Although it is UCI's policy that Owners and other individuals are generally prohibited from having animals of any type in UCI Housing, UCI, after an individualized analysis, may allow Owners to keep Emotional Support Animals in UCI Housing when:
    1. The Owner has a condition that meets California’s legal definition of Disability;
    2. There is a connection between the requested accommodation and the disability-related need; and
    3. The requested accommodation does not result in an Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burden, a Fundamental Alteration, or a Direct Threat.
  2. Even if the individual with a Disability establishes necessity for an Emotional Support Animal and it is allowed in UCI housing, an Emotional Support Animal is not permitted in other areas of the campus (e.g. dining facilities, libraries, academic buildings, athletic buildings and facilities, classrooms, labs, individual centers, etc.). Emotional Support Animals are allowed only in the UCI Housing to which the Owner is assigned.
  3. A request for an Emotional Support Animal may be denied as unreasonable if the presence of the animal:
    1. Imposes an Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burden on the University;
      1. Does the animal's presence otherwise interfere with another individual’s use and enjoyment of housing?
    2. Results in a Fundamental Alteration of University housing policies;
      1. Is the animal too large for available assigned housing space?
      2. Would the animal make physical modification of the dwelling unit necessary or require UCI Housing to provide services that are not part of its usual services in order to accommodate it?
    3. Poses a Direct Threat;
      1. Does the animal pose, or has it posed in the past, a Direct Threat to the individual or others, such as aggressive behavior toward or injuring the individual or others?
      2. Is the animal housebroken (see endnote 5) or is it unable to live with others in a reasonable manner?
      3. Are the animal’s vaccinations current?
      4. Will the animal cause, or has it caused, excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear?
  4. If UCI Housing identifies that the Emotional Support Animal will affect another person’s Disability, efforts should be made to find an accommodation that prevents harm to anyone. For example, moving the Owner to another unit where the animal will not affect anyone else’s Disability.
    1. To facilitate this the UCI Housing Personal Information Form shall contain the following text:
      • “Some students in UCI Housing will have Service Animals or Emotional Support Animals to assist them with disability-related needs. These animals may be present in common areas (for example: room, suite, apartment, laundry room, communal kitchens, staircases, elevators). If you have a disability, such as allergies, for which you may need an accommodation because of the presence of animals in UCI Housing, contact the Disability Services Center.”
  5. If UCI grants an Owner’s request to live with an Emotional Support Animal:
    1. The Emotional Support Animal is allowed in UCI housing only as long as it is necessary because of the Owner’s Disability.
    2. The Owner is solely responsible for the custody and care of the Emotional Support Animal and must meet the Owner's Responsibilities below (see Part D.3.), in addition to any other UC or UCI policies not specifically related to Emotional Support Animals.
    3. UCI Housing may establish rules or restrictions on a case by case basis in consultation with the Owner. Rules and restrictions regarding Emotional Support Animals shall be determined, based on factors including, but not limited to:
      • If the animal is house-broken;
      • The amount of noise the animal makes;
      • The size of the animal; and
      • The extent to which the animal will negatively affect the disabilities of others.
    4. UCI:
      1. Will not ask for or require an individual with a Disability to pay a fee or surcharge for an approved Emotional Support Animal.
      2. May charge an Owner for any damage caused by the Owner's Emotional Support Animal beyond reasonable wear and tear to the same extent that it charges other individuals for damage beyond reasonable wear and tear.
      3. May inspect the Owner's living accommodations for fleas, ticks or other pests if necessary as part of UCI’s standard or routine inspections. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected through inspection, the Owner will be billed for the expense of any pest treatment above and beyond standard pest management in the residence halls. UCI shall have the right to bill the Owner’s account for unmet obligations under this provision.
      4. Has the right to require documentation of compliance with current city, county and state ordinances, laws and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination and other requirements for animals. UCI reserves the right to request documentation showing that the animal has been licensed, vaccinated, etc.
      5. Shall not be required to provide care or food for any Emotional Support Animal.
  6. Removal of an Emotional Support Animal:
    1. UCI may remove, or require the Owner to remove, the Emotional Support Animal from UCI Housing if:
      1. The animal poses a Direct Threat;
      2. The animal’s presence results in a Fundamental Alteration of a University program;
      3. The Owner does not comply with the Owner’s Responsibilities set forth in Part D.3.; or
      4. The animal or its presence creates an unmanageable disturbance or interference with the University community.
    2. UCI Housing will base such individualized determinations upon the consideration of the behavior of the particular animal and Owner on a case-by-case basis, and in consultation with the Owner.
    3. Any removal of the animal may be appealed to the ADA Coordinator or designee.
    4. UCI Housing will give the Owner the opportunity to relocate the Emotional Support Animal within 24 hours to a non-UCI location of the Owner’s choosing. The Owner will not have this option if UCI Housing has reason to believe that the Emotional Support Animal is subject to abuse or neglect.
    5. UCI Housing shall contact the UCI Police Department to remove the Emotional Support Animal immediately when it has reason to believe that an Emotional Support Animal is subject to abuse or neglect.
    6. Should the Emotional Support Animal be removed from the premises for any reason, the Owner still must fulfill the Owner’s housing obligations, financial and otherwise, for the remainder of the housing contract.
  7. No Emotional Support Animal may be kept in UCI Housing at any time prior to the Owner receiving approval to do so as a Reasonable Accommodation under this Policy.
  8. The individual must provide written consent for UCI to disclose information regarding the request for and presence of the Emotional Support Animal to those individuals who may be impacted by the presence of the animal including, but not limited to, UCI personnel and potential and/or actual roommate(s)/neighbor(s). Such information shall be limited to information related to the animal and shall not include information related to the individual’s Disability.
  9. To replace an Emotional Support Animal, the new animal must be necessary because of the Owner’s Disability and the Owner must follow the procedures in this Policy when requesting a different animal.
  10. UCI will not retaliate against any person because that individual has requested or received a reasonable accommodation in UCI housing, including a request for an Emotional Support Animal.

D. Responsibilities


  1. UCI’s Emotional Support Animal Request Committee (Committee) shall:
    1. Be comprised of UCI’s:
      1. Housing representative, who has been designated by the Executive Director of UCI Housing to coordinate matters relating to Emotional Support Animals (or designee); and
      2. Director of DSC representative (or designee).
    2. Review all requests for Emotional Support Animals and the co-chairs of the Committee will provide written responses to all requests;
    3. Consider and respond to initial appeals to request denials; and
    4. Keep records of requests, decisions, and correspondence with Owners (which records UCI Housing will maintain).
  2. UCI’s ADA Coordinator shall:
    1. Review all appeals of decisions made by the Committee;
    2. Provide written responses to all appeals; and
    3. Keep records of appeals, decisions, and correspondence.
  3. Owner's Responsibilities
    1. Any Owner seeking to live with an Emotional Support Animal must make a request to UCI Housing as detailed in Part E.1.
    2. If UCI grants an Owner’s request to live with an Emotional Support Animal, the Owner must:
      1. Ensure the Emotional Support Animal is contained within the Owner’s privately assigned individual living accommodations and related common areas (for example, room, suite, apartment, laundry room, etc., as determined in the individualized analysis referenced in Part C. 1.) except to the extent the individual is taking the animal out for natural relief. When an Emotional Support Animal is outside the private individual living accommodations it must be under the Owner's dominion and control, typically in an animal carrier or controlled by a leash or harness.
      2. Ensure the Emotional Support Animal is properly housed and restrained or otherwise under the dominion and control of the Owner at all times. No Owner shall permit the animal to go loose or run at large. If an animal is found running at large, the animal is subject to capture and confinement and immediate removal from UCI Housing.
      3. Ensure the Emotional Support Animal is well cared for at all times. Any evidence of mistreatment, abuse, neglect or leaving the Emotional Support Animal unattended for unreasonably long periods of time may result in immediate removal of the Emotional Support Animal and/or discipline for the responsible individual pursuant to UC and UCI policies and procedures.
      4. House the Emotional Support Animal, as appropriate, when the Owner is not present. In some instances, it may be acceptable to leave the Emotional Support Animal alone overnight, so long as the Emotional Support Animal receives the proper care from the Owner and does not cause any Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burdens, Fundamental Alterations, disturbances, nuisances, or Direct Threats.
      5. Not leave an Emotional Support Animal overnight in UCI Housing to be cared for by any individual other than the Owner. An Owner must be with the Emotional Support Animal frequently enough to provide proper care (i.e. regular feeding, sufficient exercise, sufficient opportunities for relief, etc.)
      6. Clean up after and properly dispose of the Emotional Support Animal’s waste in a safe and sanitary manner and, when provided, ensure that the animal uses animal relief areas designated by UCI.
      7. Comply with current city, county and state ordinances, laws and/or regulations pertaining to licensing, vaccination and other requirements for animals. It is the Owner’s responsibility to know and understand these ordinances, laws and regulations.
      8. Comply with all applicable residential policies that are unrelated to the individual’s Disability such as assuring that the animal does not unduly interfere with the routine activities of the residence or cause difficulties for individuals who reside there.
      9. Fully cooperate with UCI personnel with regard to meeting the terms of this Policy and developing procedures for care of the animal (e.g., cleaning the animal, feeding/watering the animal, designating an outdoor relief area, disposing of feces, etc.).
      10. Notify UCI in writing if the Emotional Support Animal is no longer needed or is no longer in residence.

E. Procedures


  1. Request an Emotional Support Animal in UCI Housing

    An Owner wishing to request approval of a reasonable accommodation for an Emotional Support Animal for the Owner, or for the Owner’s dependent who lives with the Owner, should complete and submit the following documents to ESAinHousing@uci.edu:

    1. Application for Emotional Support Animal in UCI Housing;
    2. Health Care or Social Services Provider Form In Support of Application for Emotional Support Animal in UCI Housing (or substantially the same information on the letterhead, and with the signature of, the treating health care provider) signed and dated by the health care provider within the past 12 months;
    3. Veterinary Health Form (or substantially the same information on the letterhead, and with the signature of, the treating veterinarian) signed and dated by the veterinarian within the past 12 months; and
    4. Owner’s Acknowledgment Form.


    Owners who require assistance to complete the forms should contact DSC for assistance.

  2. Request Assessment Process
    1. The Committee will issue decisions on such requests no later than 30 days after receipt of the request. In the event the Committee needs additional information to make a determination, the Committee will promptly advise the Owner of the information needed. UCI will seek only the information necessary to verify whether the Owner is a person with a Disability and/or to evaluate if the reasonable accommodation is necessary to provide the individual with a Disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy UCI Housing.
    2. The Committee will inform the Owner whether the request is granted or denied.
    3. UCI may deny the requested accommodation if the presence of the animal:
      1. Imposes an Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burden on the University;
      2. Requires a Fundamental Alteration;
      3. Poses a Direct Threat.
    4. If the Committee denies the accommodation request, the Committee will:
      1. Provide the Owner with a letter stating all of the reasons for the denial;
      2. Inform the Owner in writing of UCI’s internal appeal process and how to file complaints with outside agencies listed in Part E.4.
      3. Schedule a meeting at a mutually convenient time to discuss possible alternative accommodations that would not impose such an Undue Financial and/or Administrative Burden, result in a Fundamental Alteration, or pose a Direct Threat; and
      4. Ask the Owner to accept an alternative accommodation only if the Owner agrees that it meets the disability-related needs of the individual with a Disability. UCI recognizes that an individual with a Disability is generally in the best position to know whether or not a particular accommodation will be effective in meeting that individual’s needs.
    5. If the Committee denies the request and an agreement on an alternative accommodation is not reached, the Committee will send the Owner a letter providing UCI’s decision on the requested accommodation and a detailed explanation of the reasons for a denial or decision to grant an alternative accommodation.
  3. Appeals
    1. Appeals must be submitted to the Committee in writing (to ESAinHousing@uci.edu) within three (3) University business days.
    2. The Committee will issue its decision within five (5) University business days after receiving the appeal and copy the UCI ADA Coordinator if the appeal is denied.
    3. If the Owner disagrees with the appeal decision the Owner may appeal to the ADA Coordinator (at ada@uci.edu) no later than five (5) University business days after receiving the Committee’s appeal decision.
    4. The ADA Coordinator will issue a decision on the appeal within five (5) University business days after receiving the appeal.
  4. Complaints

    If an individual with a Disability believes that the request for an Emotional Support Animal has been denied unlawfully or a response has been unreasonably delayed, then that individual may file a complaint by writing to or calling any of the following:

    • UCI Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD)
      103 Multipurpose Science and Technology Building
      University of California, Irvine Irvine, CA 92697-1130
      Phone: (949) 824-5594
      Fax: (949) 824-2112
      Discrimination Hotline: (949) 824-7037
      Email: oeod@uci.edu
      Website: www.oeod.uci.edu
      Zotcode: 1130
    • California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
      Los Angeles District Office
      611 West Sixth Street, Suite 1500
      Los Angeles, CA 90017
      Phone for Housing Discrimination: (800) 233-3212
      Website: www.dfeh.ca.gov
    • U.S. Department of Education
      Office for Civil Rights, San Francisco Office
      Old Federal Building, 09-801050
      50 United Nations Plaza, Room 239
      San Francisco, CA 94102-4102
      Phone: (415) 556-4275
    • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
      Phone: (800) 669-9777
      TTY: (800) 927-9275)
      Website: https://www.consumer-action.org/modules/articles/filing_a_housing_discrimination_complaint

F. Endnotes


  1. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Regulations, 28 CFR § 35.104.
  2. U.S. Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604, as interpreted by: (1) September 20, 2016, Consent Decree between U.S. Department of Justice and Kent State University (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Case No. 5:14-cv-01992-JRA) at Attachment A (Policy on Reasonable Accommodations and Assistance Animals in University Housing); (2) September 4, 2015, Consent Decree between U.S. Department of Justice and University of Nebraska (U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska Case No. 4:11-cv-03209-JMG-CRZ) at Exhibit A2 (University of Nebraska at Kearney Assistance Animal Policy and Agreement), Section I.A; (3) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHEO Notice No. FHEO-2-13-01 (Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-Funded Programs) (April 25, 2013) at page 2; Overlook Mutual Homes, Inc. v. Spencer, 666 F. Supp. 2d 850, 861 (S.D. Oh. 2009). California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Govt. Code §§ 12900 et seq., as interpreted by D.F.E.H. v. The Irvine Co. (Kelly) (OCSC Case No. 30-2014-00752435-CU-CR-CJC) and D.F.E.H. v. The Irvine Co. (Cooper) (OCSC Case No. 30-2015-00798489-CU-CR-CJC), Orange County Superior Court (Combined Settlement Agreement 2015).
  3. U.S. Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604, as interpreted by: (1) September 20, 2016, Consent Decree between U.S. Department of Justice and Kent State University (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Case No. 5:14-cv-01992-JRA) at Attachment A (Policy on Reasonable Accommodations and Assistance Animals in University Housing); (2) September 4, 2015, Consent Decree between U.S. Department of Justice and University of Nebraska (U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska Case No. 4:11-cv-03209-JMG-CRZ) at Exhibit A2 (University of Nebraska at Kearney Assistance Animal Policy and Agreement), Section I.A; (3) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHEO Notice No. FHEO-2-13-01 (Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-Funded Programs) (April 25, 2013) at page 2.
  4. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1); Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Regulations, 28 C.F.R. § 35.108; Section 504, U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 705; Section 504, U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Regulations, 34 C.F.R. § 104.3(j); U.S. Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. § 3601(h) (“handicap”); U.S. Fair Housing Act (FHA) Regulations, 24 C.F.R. § 100.201 (“handicap”); California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Govt. Code § 12926(m); California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Cal. Govt. Code § 12926(j).
  5. Trained so that, absent illness or accident, the animal controls its waste elimination and eliminates only in an animal relief area outdoors.