Emotional support animals proliferate at Yale (Because of federal regulations)

This is my dog Sabina.


Her back legs haven’t worked for the past year but I love her and we’ve been making the best of things. I love dogs generally. But dogs, chickens, cats, emus, sloths or whatever have no place in dorms. These animals are not people. They aren’t “fur babies.” They are animals. They are worthy of respect and kindness, but “emotional support” animals should not be running around campus. At least they shouldn’t be living ON campus.

(From Yale Daily News)

Yale and colleges across the country have adopted policies that allow emotional support animals — not necessarily because the science backs it up, but because the schools have to, in order to comply with the Fair Housing Act. The act states that “persons with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation for any service animal, including an emotional support animal.” The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on disability.

“Those two laws are basically the reason we weren’t inspired to create the program,” Chang explained. “We were mandated to create the program. All universities have to follow those laws.”

Violating the laws can be costly. In 2013, Grand Valley State University paid $40,000 in a settlement after a student sued the university for preventing her from keeping an emotional support guinea pig on campus. Two years later, two students received $140,000 in a settlement with the University of Nebraska at Kearney after they were denied “reasonable accommodations” to keep two emotional support dogs. A similar suit at Kent State University cost the school $145,000 the following year.

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