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Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

This page provides information for employees, students and visitors bringing animals to the William & Mary campus or on university property.  Specifically, information is provided about:

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 6 months of age.   Revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

William & Mary welcomes the presence of trained service animals (or those in training) on campus, consistent with the guidelines provided below and applicable law.  More information about service animals in campus housing is provided below (see student rights and responsibilities). 

A link to Frequently Asked Questions about service animals is provided below.

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 by Student Accessibility Services.  These requests are also considered on a case-by-case basis. 


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 dogs or service dogs in training.

Other Information/Questions about Service Animals?

This list of frequently asked questions addresses common concerns, and provide additional information regarding service animals on campus.  The U.S. Department of Justice provides a more comprehensive list of questions and answers. 

Employees or applicants for employment with questions related to accommodations should contact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion (757) 221-2615.  Students or prospective students with questions related to accommodations should contact Student Accessibility Services (757) 221-2059.  For other questions related to ADA or Rehabilitation Act compliance, contact Carla Costello, ADA/504 Coordinator at [[cacostello]] or (757) 221-1254.

Updated October 2019