University of Minnesota  Administrative Policy

Animals on Campus

Policy Statement

This policy regulates privately-owned animals, including pets, in university buildings and on university owned and controlled property.  It governs animals not otherwise subject to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

Animals Permitted on University Grounds

Animals are permitted on university grounds, unless an area is specifically signed as prohibited.  No individual may tether an animal to any fence, tree, shrub, post, or other object located upon university property not designed for the purpose of securing animals.  The prompt collection and disposal of animal waste is required.

Animals Permitted in University Buildings/Facilities

Individuals are prohibited from bringing any animal not listed below into any university building or on any university public transportation, at any time.  If found, the animal and its handler will be asked to leave the building or public transportation immediately.

The following animals are permitted in university buildings/facilities under this policy, with specific limitations.  Privately owned animals may also be subject to IACUC display protocols.

  • service animals
  • service animals in training (with proper documentation)
  • support animals (with prior approval from the campus disability services office)
  • therapy animals, on days when engaged in university-sponsored therapeutic programming (with certification from PAWS program)
  • animals brought for treatment to the veterinary medical facilities
  • animals housed and treated in animal hospitals or shelters designed and constructed to house animals
  • animals used in the delivery of instruction, during the period of instruction and in the period reasonably necessary to prepare for and conclude the instructional period
  • animals brought to animal-related university-sponsored events, during the duration of the event
  • animals housed in live-in professional staff apartments (when permitted by campus housing), family student housing (when permitted by campus housing), university-sanctioned pet programs in a residence hall, or Eastcliff event center and residence (Twin Cities campus)
  • animals used in university-sponsored research
  • animals used to carry out functional responsibilities of a university department
  • animals used in support of law enforcement or disaster recovery activities
  • livestock in designated animal holding facilities
  • animals recognized as official NCAA mascots or participating in ceremonies in athletic venues

Responsibility for Animal Conduct

Any individual who brings an animal on university property is responsible for the behavior and actions of the animal, health and safety of individuals in proximity of or impacted by the animal, and the health and cleanliness of the campus environment.  Animals on university property must have all current vaccinations and be licensed as required by the municipality where the animal is primarily housed.

Any individual, owning or having under their control any animal, may only bring such animal upon university property with a leash or lead suitably attached to the animal and held by the individual responsible.  When a leash is not an appropriate means of control, an animal must be secured in a cage.  An exception is made for any Service Animal who cannot do their work when leashed or tethered.

The university will seek restitution for any animal-related damage to university-controlled property, facilities, or grounds. The cleanup, repair, or replacement cost of damaged property is the sole responsibility of the owner of the animal that caused the damage.  This applies to all animals, and is not limited to pets, service animals, and support animals.

If any animal is or appears to be unaccompanied or a stray, or if the owner cannot be found or determined upon investigation by the campus/city police or safety officers, the animal will be impounded.

Service and Support Animals

Service Animals

A Service Animal may accompany its owner on university grounds and in university buildings at all times, except under rare circumstances where the animal’s health or safety may be compromised.  Service Animals are not required to wear any special type of harness or garment, and must be under the handler’s control at all times.  In situations where it is not obvious that the animal is a Service Animal, university officials may ask the following two qualifying questions:

  1. Is the Service Animal required because of a person’s disability?
  2. What work or task has the Service Animal been trained to perform?

It is a misdemeanor under Minnesota Statute 609.833 to misrepresent an unqualified animal as a Service Animal.

Support Animals

Support Animals are permitted in university housing (or on university grounds in accordance with the provisions of this policy) and limited to the room of the student who has been granted an accommodation.  In order to live with a Support Animal in university housing, a resident must obtain prior authorization from the campus disability services office and the campus housing office. Each campus housing office may develop specific procedures and guidelines for Support Animals. 

Residents who are negatively affected by the presence of a Support Animal should contact their campus housing office. Campus housing and the campus disability services office will follow up with the residents involved in order to determine whether there is a need for further accommodations or other changes. The university is committed to ensuring that the needs of all residents are met and will determine how to resolve any conflicts or problems as expeditiously as possible.

Support Animals approved in university housing are not generally permitted in other indoor public areas, private offices, classrooms, labs, etc. In all instances where a University community member or guest seeks to bring a Support Animal to campus, the individual must engage in an interactive process with the campus disability services office and any others affected by the request to determine the reasonability of the accommodation prior to bringing the animal to campus.


The College of Veterinary Medicine on the Twin Cities campus has exception to administer an “animals in the workplace” policy in university-owned buildings assigned to the College of Veterinary Medicine.  Animals approved under this collegiate policy are not permitted in buildings or spaces that are not assigned to the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Where aligned with their clinical practice, the M Health Clinics and Surgery Center on the Twin Cities campus may operate with different guidelines for Service and Support Animals.

Reason for Policy

Service and Support Animals serve an important role for individuals with apparent and non-apparent disabilities. It is important that individuals who rely on these animals, as well as the greater University community, understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.

The presence of animals on university property and in university buildings can have an adverse effect on the normal functions of the university by creating unsanitary conditions or health concerns (allergy, waste, bites, etc.), disrupting daily operations (excessive noise, unattended animals, individual conflict), or causing damage to grounds, buildings, and property.




Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have safety concerns about the environment where my Service Animal may accompany me. Who should I contact?

    For safety questions, contact the campus disability services office to explore what is reasonable.  Potential safety considerations could include the following:

    • Research and Teaching Laboratories. Chemicals found in many labs could be harmful to animals. Organisms naturally found on most dogs or other animals could negatively impact the outcome of certain research.
    • Mechanical Rooms/Custodial Closets. Such locations can have chemicals or machinery that could potentially harm animals.
    • Surgical and Clinical Suites. These spaces may have heightened requirements for patient safety concerns and infection control standards.
    • Other Potentially Dangerous Areas. Any room, studio, or classroom with sharp metal cuttings or glass shards on the floor; hot material such as molten metal; excessive dust; or moving machinery may pose a danger to animals.
  2. I have questions about my individual circumstance. Who should I speak with first?

    Your campus disability services office should be your first point of contact for any questions related to service or support animals.  Each campus has a primary contact listed at the end of this policy.


Primary ContactLaura Lott218-726-6917[email protected]
Crookston: Disability Resource CenterKirby Newhouse218-281-8587[email protected]
Crookston: Residential LifeCorey Klatt218-281-8533[email protected]
Crookston: City of Crookston PoliceNon-Emergency Line218-281-3111n/a
Duluth: Disability ResourcesMeryl Lucchesi-Freyberg218-726-6101[email protected]
Duluth: Housing and Residence LifeMelissa Carlson218-726-6123[email protected]
Duluth: University PoliceNon-Emergency Line218-726-7000[email protected]
Morris: Disability Resource CenterMatthew Hoekstra320-589-6163[email protected]
Morris: Residential LifeT.J. Ross320-589-6475[email protected]
Morris: University PoliceNon-Emergency Line320-287-1601[email protected]
Rochester: Disability ResourcesJeff Baier507-258-8021[email protected]
Rochester: Residential LifeWill Harmon507-258-8028[email protected]
Rochester: City of Rochester PoliceNon-Emergency Line507-328-6800n/a
Twin Cities: Disability Resource CenterDRC Front Desk612-626-1333[email protected]
Twin Cities: Housing and Residential LifeMannix Clark612-624-8488[email protected]
Twin Cities: University PoliceNon-Emergency Line612-624-2677[email protected]
Responsible Individuals
Responsible Officer Policy Owner Primary Contact
  • Assistant Vice President for Health, Safety, and Risk Management
  • Assistant Vice President for Health, Safety, and Risk Management
  • Laura Lott



A privately owned animal, vertebrate or invertebrate, kept for ordinary use and/or companionship, and not classified as a Service Animal or a Support Animal.

Service Animal

An animal (dog or miniature horse) that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. These tasks may include but are not limited to: guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sound, pulling a wheelchair, carrying and/or retrieving dropped items, etc. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not Service Animals.

Support Animal

A Support Animal, sometimes referred to as an assistance animal or emotional support animal, is an animal that provides emotional support, well-being, or companionship that alleviates or mitigates symptoms of a disability. Unlike Service Animals, Support Animals are (1) not individually trained to perform work or tasks; (2) not limited to dogs and can be other species of animal; (3) when approved in University housing are generally not permitted in other indoor public areas, private offices, classrooms, labs, etc.; and (4) only permitted on campus with prior approval from the campus disability services office.

Therapy Animal

An animal, ordinarily a dog, (but can be cats and other species) that has been obedience trained and screened for its ability to interact favorably with humans and other animals. The primary purpose of a therapy animal is to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and other settings.

University Grounds

Any land or outdoor spaces owned or leased by the University of Minnesota.

University Property

Any land, building, or other real property owned or leased by the University of Minnesota.


Animal Handler / Owner

Comply with all provisions of this policy. Maintain control of their animal and ensure safety of others at all times.

Campus Disability Services Office

Define and maintain process for approval of Support Animals. Process requests for Support Animals in university housing. Serve as a resource for individuals and supervisors with questions about application of this policy with regard to Service Animals.

Campus Housing Office

Facilitate approved requests for Support Animals.

Campus/City Police or Safety Officials

Respond to complaints about stray or noncompliant animals. On the Duluth, Morris, and Twin Cities campuses, Police refers to the University of Minnesota Police Department. On the Crookston and Rochester campuses, Police refers to the local/city police department.

Campus Student Conduct Office

Adjudicate reported violations of this policy by students.

College of Veterinary Medicine

Maintain collegiate policy and procedure for animals in the workplace.

Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Administer Board of Regents policy regulating research, teaching, display, and service activities involving animals when conducted by, or on the behalf of, university faculty, staff, or students or when using university facilities or equipment.

PAWS Program

Notify supervisors of faculty and staff who have animals that have been certified by the program as participants.


Respond to violations of this policy by employees within their unit. Ask noncompliant animal handlers to leave university buildings or public transportation. Address repeat offenders through the employee performance process.

Related Information



January 2020 -

  1. Clarifies which kinds of animals can be on campus and in buildings.
  2. Outlines the requirements around service and assistance animals, and by and large sets in place a ban on domestic pets in all university facilities.
  3. Ensures compliance with the law, but also protects university property as well as creates a safe place for those who live and work here.