Emotional Support Animals

Residence Halls


  • As defined by the ADA, service animals are animals that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. 
  • According to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, emotional support animals provide some therapeutic benefit to persons with mental or psychiatric disability and provide support that mitigates at least one identified symptom of the disability, requiring no specific training.

Guidelines and Requirements 

Wartburg College’s residence halls, as stated in the student handbook, are pet-free buildings. Operating within the parameters created by the Fair Housing Act, exceptions to the pet policy are permissible. To obtain permission to have an emotional support animal in the residence halls, the student must first contact Disability Services, located in the Pathways Center, and provide the appropriate required documents. Approved animals may not create unreasonable disruptions to the residential community at any time. The animal’s behavior must be congruent to reasonable standards of well-behaved animals relating to behavior, noise, odor, and waste. Excessive disruption, determined by residence life staff, is grounds for contractual termination and immediate animal removal. The animal is not allowed in any area of the residence hall other than the student’s room at all times, except when the animal is being transported outside. This transport must include the animal being leashed and the shortest route outside must be taken. The animal cannot be taken into classrooms or other buildings on Wartburg’s campus. 

Contractual Agreement for Emotional Support Animals 

Upon approval from Disability Services to obtain an emotional support animal, the student is expected to meet the following additional requirements. The student will: 

  • Register the approved animal with Residential Life after receiving permission from Disability Services by providing the necessary documentation. 
  • Provide exhaustive documentation of completed vaccinations recommended by veterinarians. Prior to moving the animal into a residence hall, proof of vaccination is required. Wartburg College reserves the right to request updated vaccination records at any time during the animal’s residency. 
  • Assure the animal does not interfere with traditional activities of the residence or negatively impact the community of students who reside there. Sensitivity to residents fearful of animals or with allergies is necessary to maintain a welcoming and peaceful residential community. 
  • Be responsible for containing and disposing of all animal waste in appropriate outside trash dumpsters. Litter boxes should be placed on mats. 
  • Be financially responsible for the actions of the animal, including any property damage or bodily injury. Examples include carpet and furniture replacement, wall repairs or cleaning costs directly associated with having an animal in the room. 
  • Provide documentation of liability insurance with a minimum of $1,000,000 covering the emotional support animal. 
  • Submit written notification if the emotional support animal is no longer residing in the student’s residence or is no longer needed. 
  • Go through the entire request process again, beginning with contacting Disability Services, if the student is planning to exchange one emotional support animal for another. The agreement is for one specific animal. 
  • Abide by all other policies within Residential Life and the Student Code of Conduct. This exception to Wartburg’s Pet Policy does not allow for other exceptions to college policy. 
  • Fulfill the housing agreement for the duration of the housing contract between the student and Wartburg College even if the emotional support animal is removed from campus housing.

Upon approval from Disability Services to obtain an emotional support animal, Wartburg College has the right to: 

  • Inspect the student residence for fleas, ticks, or other pests as needed. Any inspections will be scheduled in advance by Residence Life staff. Through the inspection, if fleas, ticks, or pests are detected, the residence will be fumigated through approved methods by the Wartburg College Physical Plant staff or an outsourced, certified pest control service. If pest treatment is needed, the student is financially responsible for it. If the problem is ongoing or reoccurring, the student’s housing agreement may be terminated or the emotional support animal removed. 
  • Assign the student to a specific building and/or room. If assigned to a space where temperature control isn’t manually set, the student may install a window air conditioning unit. 
  • Relocate the student as necessary based on the contractual agreements of residing on campus. 
  • Not allow specific animals to reside in the residence halls as emotional support animals. Any animal must be approved and a thorough review of traits and tendencies of any proposed animal will be conducted and a final decision will be made by the college prior to allowing move-in of the animal.

Noncompliance with the aforementioned rules may result in the immediate removal of the emotional support animal from the residence halls at Wartburg College. If this occurs, there is an appeal process that can be initiated by contacting the associate dean of students/director of residential life.