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Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Service Animals

A service animal as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) refers to "a dog individually trained to do work for the benefit of an individual with a disability including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are hearing impaired to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or fetching dropped items." 

Virginia law also includes dogs in training that are at least six months of age. Revised ADA regulations have a separate provision about miniature horses, where reasonable.

William & Mary welcomes the presence of trained service animals (or those in training) on campus, consistent with the guidelines provided below and applicable law.

Campus visitors and guests are permitted to have service animals (or those in training) on campus. Generally, service animals are allowed to access the same areas on campus that their owners are permitted to access; however, there may be areas where animals are prohibited due to health and safety concerns. Such areas includes, but are not limited to, research laboratories, mechanical rooms, custodial closets, food service preparation areas, areas where protective clothing is necessary, or areas where there is a danger to the service animal.

Service Animal Guidelines

Emotional Support Animals

An emotional support animal (for students) refers to an animal that provides comfort or emotional support just by being with a person and can be any type of animal. Emotional support animals may be allowed to live with a student in an on-campus housing residence if approved as a reasonable accommodation. These requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be made through Student Accessibility Services. Emotional support animals are not permitted in other campus buildings unless a separate accommodation request has been approved.

Emotional Support Animal Guidelines


A pet is a domestic animal kept for pleasure or companionship. Pets are not permitted in university buildings.

The employee dog policy applies to all university employees, including faculty, hourly and wage employees, as well as volunteers, contract workers, vendors, and others affiliated with the university. This policy was created to protect employees from possible allergies and to allow them to feel safe in their workspace. This policy does NOT apply to service animals or service animals in training.

Other Information/Questions?

The U.S. Department of Justice provides a comprehensive list of questions and answers.